Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has always existed and affected countless people throughout history. If you read through the primary sources of ancient battles, you’ll occasionally find mention of soldiers who were scarred by combat and exhibited what we now know as the symptoms of PTSD. It wasn’t until the First World War that something resembling the modern diagnosis entered the lexicon of mental health, however. The unique, unrelenting stress of life in the trenches produced innumerable victims of shell-shock, as contemporary experts knew it. While PTSD is generally associated with combat veterans, it doesn’t exclusively or even primarily affect soldiers. In truth, anyone who experiences a traumatic event may develop PTSD.
PTSD in California
PTSD is a disorder where the current public understanding is inadequate, particularly when it comes to non-military PTSD. For instance, the number of Californians who currently suffer from the disorder is currently unknown. However, there are national statistics that indicate 3.5% of all US adults will suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder throughout the year. Current data estimates that one in eleven people will suffer from PTSD throughout their life and that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men.
How Someone May Develop PTSD
Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as sexual assault, the death of a loved one, or family separation may cause someone to develop PTSD. However, any proximity to traumatic events may also be a cause for someone to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For instance, hearing about the graphic death of a loved one, filing reports related to child trafficking and abuse as a police officer, or serving as a drone pilot in the military may produce PTSD.
Another type of relatively little-known trauma is complex trauma, where the event is actually the combination of many events. A child who suffers long-term neglect or goes through trafficking may not be able to point to a single event as the root of their traumatic stress, but will instead identify the prolonged helplessness of their situation as the cause. This is typically known as cPTSD, a related but different condition.
Measures to Understand and Treat Traumatic Stress in California
Chronic neglect and childhood trauma are not sufficiently prioritized as matters of mental health, but a new initiative is aiming to identify trauma in Californian youth. Californian pediatricians may now give surveys to children asking simple questions, such as whether they’ve been raised by a depressed or otherwise mentally ill caretaker.
By assessing risk factors for childhood trauma, pediatricians in the state will be empowered to identify and treat these issues as early as possible. There are also surveys available for adults to take, which may illuminate traumatic events that the victims dismissed as normal.
Treating PTSD in California
Many people might suffer from PTSD without knowing it. If you or someone you love has suffered from trauma and declined to seek treatment, you’ll always be able to find understanding and support at Alter Behavioral Health.