What Causes PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?
In this post we will discuss some of the causes of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), including a quick summary of what PTSD is. This isn’t all encompassing, but it will give a base of understanding. There are many outside resources out there to guide us along the way in our understanding, many of which can be found via links in our Resources section.
Medically, society more commonly associates disorders to physical maladies as simple as a cold to any more serious ones, such as cancer. This is because these are diagnosed more openly compared to psychological conditions. In fact, the latter is still being ignored much of the time compared to those whose manifestations are more pronounced.
What you might not know is that these conditions might be just as serious, if not more dangerous. This stems from the fact that psychological conditions do not have any definitive cure. Instead, it is a combination of interventions that, in the end, would lead to a resolution and treatment.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a disorder that triggers anxiety attacks as an individual relives a traumatizing experience or emotion that made a lasting impression in them. This can easily affect any individual of any age, but it should be highlighted that our nation’s best, the ones who protect us; who are keeping us safe – military, law enforcement, paramedics and firefighters – might be the ones that suffer through it the most. It might not be all of them, but when it does affect them, the intensity can be extreme. A more detailed explanation can be found here.
What are some causes of PTSD?
It can be self-explanatory, but for a layman, it can be easily associated with a trauma that an individual suffers. For the men and women mentioned above, these kinds of stressors are not very hard to find. In fact, it is part of the everyday life within their chosen professions.
For example, military combat is one of the main causes of PTSD amongst soldiers. In fact, it is their everyday lives when they are deployed to hostile theatres which can be the cause as they live day in and day out under the stress of combat. Despite being the life and profession that they chose, it does not mean that it does not affect them in one way or the other. In truth, prolonged exposure to these kinds of conditions can easily trigger PTSD in any individual, even the most willing and bravest of them all.
Moreover, part of military combat is the increased possibility of being held captive. It may not be common, but every now and then, we do hear of people becoming captured and held hostage either for ransom, or just to be made an example of in a video. The purpose of this is to strike fear either in their fellow soldiers or to the serving nation which have deployed their troops. This is also considered a projection of power to show the captors’ allies that they have control. These kinds of situations, including different forms of terrorism and violent attacks, can cause debilitating trauma for those involved. It may vary from person to person, but these traumas can lead to PTSD further down the road.
Road accidents can also lead to PTSD. In its most subdued form, it could easily be a traffic accident that leads to no casualties or everybody going home with only the most minute of injuries. However, in the most extreme of cases, coming on scene to a horrific accident with a mass casualty situation will play on anyone’s psyche. Road accidents can also mean triggered IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to disrupt forces from doing their job. In most cases they are designed to both kill on a mass scale, as well as strike lasting fear in witnesses.
Causes of PTSD should not just be associated to just combat. For example, individuals can suffer from PTSD after enduring a natural disaster such as tsunamis, volcano eruption. Even a strong thunderstorm can easily trigger a trauma that could lead to debilitating moments with the slightest reminder of an incident. In worst cases, just seeing a picture associated to any of these events could lead to anxiety attacks which can be very difficult to subdue at times.
Additionally, those who may have witnessed a death of a family member or close friend may also lead to conditions related to PTSD. It may manifest itself differently than other causes, or it may not manifest itself at all, but believe that it can happen, and it is more dangerous when they do not show any symptoms of the disorder.
Why is PTSD so dangerous?
PTSD is dangerous, mainly because it can manifest in varying degrees and it may be caused from different reasons. One incident might not be traumatizing for one individual, but it may be the worst that could happen to another. Everyone experiences trauma in varying degrees and in many different ways. Some may show signs, while others keep it to themselves. The latter tend to do so because of a huge stigma around the condition. This is usually due to them not wanting to be looked at as “weak” or unable to “hack it”.
Society must be made more aware that psychological disorders, like PTSD, are something that everyone should take note of, and not just be brushed under the rug. Knowing the causes, and possibly their varying degrees, is a good first step towards throwing away the stigma and having a better recognition that it does exist and that we must do something about it. It’s a veil that must be lifted and seen for what it is.