According to research, women may experience some post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms differently than men. They are also more likely to develop the condition following trauma, but women are typically diagnosed much later.
Women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD at some point in their lives. They also have these symptoms for longer periods and are more sensitive to reminders of their trauma.
Learn more about some of the most common symptoms of PTSD in women. Recognizing these signs can lead to an earlier diagnosis, reducing an individual’s distress and improving treatment outcomes.
PTSD in Women: Common Causes
PTSD can be caused by any distressing incident. Dangerous, life-threatening, or violent events or experiences are more likely to be triggering. Some of the common causes of PTSD in women include:
- Other military encounters
- Assault on a female
- Assault on the physical body
- Child sexual exploitation
- Child molestation
- Being present at a horrific event
- Learning about a loved one’s horrific death, injury, or accident
- Serious catastrophes, such as vehicle accidents or traumatic falls
- Terrorist assaults
- Tornadoes, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are examples of natural catastrophes.
- Witnessing the aftermath of a violent or heinous act
Symptoms and Signs
It’s common to be upset, anxious, or scared after experiencing something traumatic. Many people experience such feelings gradually fading in the days and weeks following a traumatic event, but for others, these symptoms can become more severe.
PTSD is characterized by feelings of distress, anxiety, and reliving the traumatic event. People sometimes avoid anything that might remind them of the trauma they experienced. PTSD symptoms include:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma
- Startling easily
- Self-harming behavior
- Disinterest in activities
- Emotional detachment
People suffering from PTSD are also more likely to commit suicide.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Quiz
Complete the questionnaire below to determine the possibility that you are exhibiting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Distinctions Between PTSD in Men and Women
Women and men can experience PTSD in different ways, according to mental health experts. Women with PTSD, for example, are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, as well as difficulty feeling or dealing with their emotions. They also avoid activities and things that remind them of the traumatic event. Women are less likely than men to use alcohol or drugs to cope with PTSD.
According to the nonprofit organization Solace for Mothers, some women who have a difficult time in the delivery room also have a type of PTSD, which, if left untreated, can follow them throughout their parenting journey. It may also explain why some women do not want to go through childbirth again and may decide not to have any more children. This is not to be confused with postpartum depression. Solace for Mothers seeks to help traumatized women and prevent birth trauma.
People who are educated about how PTSD affects women have a better understanding that the disorder is not only a real medical problem, but it is also highly treatable.
Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people focus on how they analyze and respond to particular sensations, ideas, and memories, is one of the psychological treatments that are successful in helping women cope with the symptoms of PTSD. Another sort of treatment is Exposure Treatment, which is more of a behavioral treatment for PTSD. It can help people overcome their fear and anxiety by forcing them to confront the issues that caused them to be traumatized.
Normalizing the symptoms and experiences of someone suffering from PTSD is the first step in any true trauma treatment. What does “normalizing” look like?
Accept that physical discomfort may be a part of the process. For some people who deal with PTSD can have severe migraines, discomfort in the back or even stomach, and digestive disorders.
Everyone who has been through a traumatic situation may experience “flashbacks and/or nightmares.” They are frequently triggered by sounds, odors, or a phrase said by someone.
This will assist with the guilt, but coping with the guilt is a long process. There is, however, hope with the appropriate therapist, especially when you discover one who knows how PTSD affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, relationships, and self-image.