Psychiatry Fast Five Quiz: What Do You Know About Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?

Stephen Soreff, MD


January 30, 2017

Women are at greatest risk for many of the most common traumas. For example, research has shown that women who served in the Vietnam War are at greater risk for both lifetime and current PTSD than are men who served in that conflict. In the United States, PTSD has a lifetime prevalence of 8%-10%. About 30% of men and women who have spent time in a war zone develop the disorder.

Several factors may interact to influence vulnerability to PTSD, including characteristics of the individual, characteristics of the trauma exposure, and post-traumatic factors. Prior trauma exposure and family history or prior psychiatric illness are risk factors for individual vulnerability. Influencing characteristics of the trauma itself include the trauma's proximity and severity and the duration of an individual's exposure. A dysregulation of the person's fight-or-flight response reflexive survival nervous system may be a contributor.

Post-traumatic factors that influence development of PTSD include the availability of social support and the emergence of avoidance or numbing, hyperarousal, and re-experiencing symptoms.

To learn more about risk factors for PTSD, read here.


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