We know that anyone can suffer from PTSD, but there is a clear gender difference in how common PTSD is in men vs. women. According to the National Center for PTSD, about one in ten women suffer sometime in their life with PTS. About half the number of men suffer from PTSD.
Data shows us that women are more vulnerable to experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the case even though we also know that the lifetime prevalence of trauma exposure was much lower among women than men.
This appears to be the case since women are subjected to specific types of trauma with a much higher overall conditional risk of PTSD, including rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse as a child. In contrast, men encounter physical assault, accidents, disaster, combat and see death and injury more frequently. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has announced data demonstrating that over nine out of ten sexual assault and rape victims are women compared to one in ten of men.
Clinical data shows us that PTSD and other forms of trauma cause physical damage, including in the brain. In addition, physical and emotional trauma damages the emotions, often long term. The bottom line is that even though symptoms of PTSD can mimic those of mental illness, if left untreated over time, PTSD can also cause serious physical concerns as well.
PTSD in men can cause difficulty focusing and concentrating, which can have a negative impact on intimate relations. Men can also experience serious self-doubt from PTSD. The manner in which a loved one treats them can have serious consequences on the trauma survivor. Sometimes relationships can suffer harm if a circular pattern evolves over time between the two people in the PTSD-challenged relationship. The National Institutes of Health states that “PTSD may impact a variety of sexual outcomes, including sexual desire, function (e.g., sexual arousal, orgasm), genito-pelvic pain, sexual satisfaction sexual distress, and frequency of sexual activity. Furthermore, sexual difficulties may not remit with PTSD treatment.”
The symptoms associated with PTSD can worsen over time if they are left untreated. They can include increased suicidal ideation, anger and aggression, loneliness, experiencing flashbacks and dissociating.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Clinical Practice Guideline highlights a number of common PTSD treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Conditionally recommended treatments include Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy (BEP) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.
People who suspect they are suffering from PTSD should immediately see their doctor or other medical professional to get a specific diagnosis. At that point they can make a decision on treatment. There area number of organizations that can help people who suffer from PTSD and their loved ones, including the National Center for PTSD and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.