Around 8% of Americans have experienced some type of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD in their lives. Although many people relate PTSD specifically to the military and those who have witnessed combat first-hand, there are many other causes behind the condition. Unfortunately, PTSD is a condition that is on the rise and so it’s important to define and understand what makes this condition so common today. Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by symptoms not unlike clinical depression and in many cases; bipolar disorder treatment can be extremely effective.

PTSD Defined

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a related disorder that can develop after someone has been exposed to an event or ordeal that was life-threatening. The kind of traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include natural disasters, terrorist attacks, violent assaults or military combat. The condition currently affects around 8 million American adults and can develop at any age, even in childhood. The symptoms of PTSD include depression, addiction issues, and anxiety disorders and can alter someone’s personality beyond recognition.

PTSD Causes

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence has many forms including indecent assault, rape, child abuse, sexually-motivated domestic violence, incest and drug-assisted or ‘date’ rape among others. The underlying element of all sexual violence is that the sexual attention is not wanted, which is very damaging to someone going through the experience. Other sexually-motivated crimes and assaults that can lead to someone suffering PTSD include sexual harassment at the workplace and stalking; events that take place over time rather than on an isolated basis.

Combat Experiences of Veterans and the Military

Perhaps the most commonly associated group of people with post-traumatic stress disorder is those who have fought in combat situations or put their lives at risk in service to the country. When soldiers are on a tour of duty, even eating lunch can be riddled with anxiety because life in a war zone means that death is never far away and the long term effects of that on someone can be extremely distressing, even long after they’ve left active service. Research shows that around 20% of combat veterans suffer from PTSD and the symptoms can devastate families. Returning veterans report mood swings, drug or alcohol abuse, relationship issues, difficulties sleeping and isolation as symptoms commonly experienced as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Natural Disasters

It is very difficult for someone who has lived through a natural disaster to communicate what it was like to someone who hasn’t. Hurricanes, wildfires, mud slides and tsunamis are not regularly occurring phenomena and so to go through something of that nature is a relatively rare life experience.

For that reason, dealing with the feelings of shock, terror and overwhelming confusion in the aftermath of a natural disaster can be made harder by not having an empathetic shoulder to cry on. Some of the consequences of natural disasters are so devastating as to be beyond normal comprehension and that’s another factor that can exacerbate someone’s potential to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

Reports following natural disasters around the world show that there are six initial responses to an event of this kind:

  • Fear
  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Need for more information
  • Help for themselves and others

It is in the vital hours following a natural disaster where these six responses need to be addressed as quickly as possible to protect everyone involved from the possibility of developing PTSD.

Intimate Partner Violence

This is a form of domestic violence that is more prevalent in society than we recognize. Usually, intimate partner violence starts in relatively innocuous ways, with insults and put downs and escalates into a relationship that is more about contempt than it is love. According to research, at least one in ten people experience this kind of trauma in relationships today and over time, it can take its toll on someone’s mental state to the extent that PTSD can develop.

Learning why abusive relationships happen and how to set boundaries to prevent it happening again is an important part of the treatment of PTSD and enables sufferers to form healthier partnerships going forward.

Conclusion

Whatever the cause of PTSD, it is essential to seek treatment for the condition for a healthier future. Bipolar disorder treatment is an effective approach for PTSD as many of the same symptoms are shared by the mental illnesses.  Perhaps the most important aspect of treatment for many sufferers is communicating with others in similar situations, going through the same mental health issues. Treatment for bipolar disorder and PTSD is available on an inpatient or outpatient basis at most rehabilitation centers, making it possible to find the best program regardless of personal circumstances.