PTSD – Am I at risk to develop it?
Unfortunately, most Australians will be exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lives.
According to Phoenix Australia, the most common traumatic events people in Australia are exposed to are: the unexpected death of someone close to them; witnessing someone badly injured or killed or unexpectedly seeing a deceased body and being in a motor vehicle accident where there is a possibility of death.
Being exposed to a traumatic event can have a massive emotional impact on our well being and may leave us not feeling ourselves for a period of time.
To answer the question – will I develop PTSD is a difficult one. While 50-75% of people are exposed to trauma, only 5-10% will go on to develop PTSD (Phoenix Australia).
What are the common causes of PTSD?
Research has found that there are particular risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing PTSD following a trauma. The Black Dog Institute identifies the following risk factors:
Having a prior history of trauma such as childhood trauma and sexual abuse
The duration of the trauma, with longer duration increasing risk
A family history of mental health problems
Prior mental health diagnoses such as anxiety or depression
A lack of social support from friends, family, colleagues and professionals
Your job may also place you at greater risk, with first responders (i.e. police, ambulance officers, firefighters) and those in the military more likely to develop PTSD.
How can I prevent PTSD?
How you react to trauma initially can give you a great risk of developing PTSD.
A scientific review has concluded that the way in which an individual makes sense of the trauma at the moment of exposure and the emotions they experience (i.e. fear, helplessness, horror, guilt and shame) play a significant role in determining whether they will go on to develop PTSD.
One key area that was focussed on was the action of dissociation during and immediately following the event was a strong predictor of PTSD.
Ultimately, most of us will usually avoid developing PTSD, it’s important to understand that ourselves or a loved one could be at a higher risk. It’s important to keep a close eye on the symptoms and take action as soon as you begin to worry.
If you need support – we’re here to help.
Psychological Health and Wellbeing Services(PHaWS) offer you a team of qualified, experienced, compassionate Psychologists and Allied Health clinicians, who specialise in bringing about the changes that you want in your life.
Book your appointment with us today.