Risk of Developing PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur to anybody. Developing PTSD symptoms is not a sign of weakness. PTSD occurs across all ages, races, ethnicities and cultures. There are however certain factors which can increase the likelihood of developing PTSD symptoms. These include type of trauma experienced, background, history, ethnicity and maladaptive behaviours post trauma.

Groups with a higher risk of developing PTSD

Some groups of people have a higher risk of developing PTSD.

  • These include those serving in the armed forces or emergency services particularly the fire service. The term PTSD is often associated with the armed forces. However PTSD is experienced in civilian life also.
  • People who are from an ethnic minority have a greater risk of developing PTSD.
  • The female gender is at a higher risk of developing PTSD than their male counterparts.
  • PTSD risk is higher if you are from a poor background
  • If you have had mental health problems previously
  • Experienced multiple traumas
  • Poor education
  • Have a family history of mental illness
  • Number of times a person has been traumatised and whether trauma is still being experienced or ongoing

Risk of Developing PTSD by Type of Trauma Experienced

The risk of developing PTSd symptoms post trauma is also influenced by the type of trauma experienced. The following list is information compiled from the PTSD Alliance which shows the type of trauma and the likelihood of developing PTSD symptoms.

Type of TraumaLikelihood of
Developing PTSD
Natural Disasters3.8%
Witnessing someone being killed or seriously injured7.3%
Life threatening illness of a child10.4%
Unexpected, sudden death of a friend or family member14.3%
Stabbing or shooting15.4%
Serious injury due to an accident e.g. car accident16.8%
Sexual assault23.7%
Physical assault or severe beating31.9%

Post Trauma Behaviour and Maladaptive Coping

Trauma symptoms can be intrusive and difficult to cope with. Sometimes the way we cope with symptoms can mean they last longer and we are at higher risk of developing PTSD. The following factors can impact our ability to get better.

  • Not getting support or professional help in relation to the trauma after symptoms have persisted for longer than four weeks
  • Avoiding feelings and everyday activities which support your values. Avoidance is often achieved by way of addiction behaviours, substance misuse and isolation.
  • Personal situation with regard to a support network. Pushing people away that are trying to be supportive.
  • Risky behaviour which can lead to more trauma. Examples might include

If you have experienced a trauma and are experiencing PTSD symptoms after four weeks please contact us for a PTSD assessment. PTSD symptoms can be greatly helped with the right treatment. The leading evidence based treatment for PTSD is EMDR therapy.

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