Did I Experience a Trauma? Could I Have PTSD?

In PTSD, a trauma is defined as “exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence”. The trauma can be something that happened to you as a child or as an adult, something that happened once or many times over the years, or even something that you witnessed or learned about it happening to a close family member or friend. Even though we often describe things like a divorce, a bad argument with a friend or parent, a difficult move, or a toxic work environment as ‘traumatic’, these major stressors are not experiences that would lead to a diagnosis of PTSD. When we think about “Big T” traumas, we mean events like childhood physical or sexual abuse, an actual or threatened assault, unwanted sexual contact or abuse, exposure to war or combat, severe motor vehicle accidents, natural or man-made disasters, or sudden/catastrophic medical events.

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Who gets PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and why? – Trauma Series by David Campell, MD

Since announcing Trauma Services as a specialty at Mind Therapy Clinic, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about therapy as it relates to trauma. Most commonly people want to know what is PTSD, and who gets it and why?

With so many traumatic experiences in today’s news – from police shootings, racial tensions, war, car crashes, crosswalk and bicycle accidents, physical and sexual assaults, gun violence, natural disasters, racial and economic fallouts, etc. – it makes sense that there is a heightened awareness and interest in the need to fully understand the impact of these events and treatments for those who are affected.  Media often presents PTSD with a military focus, but recent research has revealed that civilian PTSD is 13 times more common. In fact, an estimated one out of every nine women develops PTSD (more than twice as likely as men).*  So, what is considered PTSD and who should receive treatment? 

Let’s start with how does someone become traumatized?

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