Post-traumatic stress disorder facts

PTSD, MHFA training

PTSD Facts

  • 12 % of Australians will experience post-traumatic stress disorder in their lifetime.
  • Serious accidents are one of the major causes of PTSD in Australia.
  • Anybody can develop PTSD, women are more likely to develop PTSD compared to men.
  • 86% of men, 77% of women with PTSD are likely to have another disorder, such as, depression, anxiety or substance use disorder.
  • PTSD diagnosis, symptoms must last for more than one month, create distress or functional impairment.
  • People with PTSD can make a full recovery.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a group of stress responses that can develop after the person witnesses a traumatic incident or event, such as death of a loved one, serious injury, accident, incident, war, torture, natural disaster (bushfires, flood, earthquakes) or physical or sexual violence to themselves or to others. These traumatic events might occur over a period of time, or can be a single event.

Around one million Australians experience PTSD in anyone year.

Risk factors:

Trauma exposure is the initiating factor behind PTSD, however, there could be additional factors that might contribute to the likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. We need to consider that an event which is traumatising for one person, may not be traumatising for another person.

  •  Biological and neurological factors
  • Social past experiences
  • Societal factors
  • History of mental health
  • Genetical factors
  • Life stressors

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

 PTSD has four main types of symptoms:

1. Re-living the traumatic event:

  • unwanted and repeated recollections of events, flashbacks or intense nightmares.
  • Reliving the event which could leads to sweating, heart palpitations or panic.

2. Avoiding reminders of the event:

  • thoughts, emotional state, people, places, activities, conversations or circumstances that bring back memories of the event.

3.  Negative changes in feelings and thoughts after trauma:

  • feeling angry, afraid, guilty, flat or numb,
  • developing beliefs such as “I’m bad” or “The world’s unsafe”
  • feeling detached from others

4. Being overly alert or ‘edge’:

  • indicated by sleeping difficulties, irritability, lack of attentiveness, becoming easily frightened and continually being on the lookout for signs of danger.
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