Like many other mental health struggles, PTSD affects women differently and more frequently than men. Some statistics suggest that up to 50% of American women will experience at least one incidence of trauma in their lifetime. While PTSD indeed affects all genders and demographics, there are notable differences in how and how often symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder adversely impact women’s emotional and physical health. While some symptoms may stay consistent across all diagnoses, there are also some signs of PTSD in women that are unique compared to men.
Statistics provided by the National Center for PTSD suggest that more than 10% of women will receive a PTSD diagnosis. Similar research studies show women are at significantly greater risk (more than twice as likely) of experiencing PTSD than men. Without support and guidance at a treatment center specializing in treating PTSD in women, overcoming symptoms and avoiding relapse can be difficult.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a severe and often debilitating mental health condition that evolves from exposure to or experiencing trauma. While often connected to trauma-intensive professions, post-traumatic stress disorder can arise from any type of trauma. It is important to remember that PTSD does not have demographic limitations. Anyone, regardless of age, gender identity, career path, economic standing, or other demographics, can experience PTSD at some point in their lifetime. Statistics show PTSD affects up to 4% of the United States population each year, with more than 11% receiving a PTSD diagnosis at some point in their lifetime.
What Causes PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is caused by trauma. Because the concept of trauma means different things to different people, it is helpful to understand what “trauma” means. Unfortunately, trauma is not clearly defined. Common examples of trauma that are frequently linked to an increased risk of developing PTSD include natural disasters, abuse, serious injury, serious illness, assault, experience acts of violence, or the loss of a loved one.
It is also to remember that post-traumatic stress disorder develops differently from one person to the next. For example, it is not necessary to directly experience trauma for the event or situation to influence your emotional health. While personally experiencing or witnessing the event is the most common cause of PTSD, it is also possible to experience significant trauma from learning that a traumatic experience harmed or impacted a loved one or a friend. It is also crucial to remember that what might be traumatic for you (or a loved one) may not be so for someone else. Regardless of the root cause of trauma, however, each person’s unique experience can lead to complex and potentially harmful mental health challenges that require skilled and comprehensive therapy to learn how to manage your symptoms safely.
What at the Signs of PTSD in Women?
Although some signs of PTSD are common across all genders, some signs of PTSD are more common in women. In general, someone with PTSD will struggle with disturbing thoughts and overpowering emotions related to a specific event (or series of events). This emotional turmoil persists long after the trauma ends. Additionally, someone with PTSD will continually “relive” the event through flashbacks or nightmares, making it seem like it will never end. People with PTSD also attempt to avoid the circumstances that remind them of their experiences.
As noted above, some PTSD symptoms are more common for women than men. Women with PTSD may be “jumpier” and have more difficulty feeling emotions. Also, women who struggle with untreated PTSD are more likely to feel anxiety and depression.
It is important to note that not all women who experience trauma will develop PTSD. However, certain factors may increase your risk. These factors relate to your personal mental health history, the type of trauma, and the level of support received immediately after the trauma. Common examples of such factors include:
- Experiencing sexual assault or life-threatening trauma.
- Lack of social support after the event.
- A history of past mental health problems.
How to Find Gender-Specific PTSD Treatment in Southern California
The difficulties people face when managing PTSD symptoms can be complex. Without help from a gender-specific PTSD treatment program, learning how to safely manage your symptoms while focusing on all aspects of your health. Our Southern California holistic treatment programs at Casa Serena ensure you have the care and support you need to understand and effectively manage your symptoms while focusing on healing and moving forward free from symptoms that impact your day-to-day life. To learn more about our programs at our women’s PTSD treatment program in Southern California, contact us at Casa Serena today.