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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Facts And Statistics

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition likely triggered by a traumatic event. It affects millions of people of all ages across the United States and throughout the rest of the world.

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Prevalence Of PTSD

  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD affects approximately 6.8 percent of people during their lifetime.
  • In a given year, approximately 3.6 percent of adults 18 and older will have PTSD.
  • Among adolescents aged 13 through 17, PTSD affects approximately 5 percent of individuals.
  • Among people who have witnessed a traumatic event at some point in their life, the risk of developing PTSD is 1 in 5.
  • PTSD affects approximately 8 million adults in the United States during any given year.

PTSD In Men And Women

  • According to data collected in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, females were more likely to suffer from PTSD than males.
  • In the survey, 5.2 percent of female adults had experienced PTSD in the past year, compared to only 1.8 percent of male adults.
  • The survey showed that 8 percent of female adolescents experienced PTSD, compared to only 2.3 percent of male adolescents.

PTSD In Specific Populations

  • The rate of PTSD among different ethnic groups is similar. However, members of ethnic minority groups are more likely to suffer from a higher level of disability due to PTSD.
  • The rate of PTSD is higher among veterans, likely due to their increased risk of exposure to trauma.
  • Approximately 30 percent of Vietnam veterans are expected to develop PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • Among Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, the rate of PTSD is estimated to be between 11 and 20 percent.
  • The rate of PTSD is estimated at 12 percent among Gulf War veterans.
  • PTSD is more common among people who have experienced certain types of trauma. As many as 49 percent of rape victims will develop PTSD.
  • 31.9 percent of physical assault victims will develop PTSD, as will 16.8 percent of people involved in a serious accident.

PTSD And The Rate Of Co-Occurring Conditions

  • According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 80 percent of people who have PTSD will have one or more additional mental health diagnoses.
  • Some co-occurring conditions commonly diagnosed in people with PTSD include substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders.
  • Patients with PTSD may also be more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as gambling or aggressive driving.

Global Impact Of PTSD

  • It’s estimated by the World Health Organization that approximately 3.6 percent of people worldwide are suffering from PTSD.
  • In a WHO study of 21 countries, researchers found that as many as 10 percent of respondents had witnessed a traumatic event in the previous year. Many of these people will go on to develop PTSD.
  • In another study of 24 countries, researchers found that more than 70 percent of respondents had experienced a traumatic event at some time in their lives.

PTSD: Treatment Facts And Statistics

  • The degree of impairment related to PTSD can range from mild to serious in adults.
  • Approximately 30.2 percent of adults with PTSD have mild impairment, 33.1 percent of moderate impairment, and 36.6 percent have severe impairment.
  • Approximately 1.5 percent of adolescents with PTSD will struggle with severe impairment.
  • PTSD often responds to treatment. The most successful treatments for PTSD include prolonged exposure, cognitive processing therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
  • Talk therapy and medications may also be recommended for patients with PTSD.
  • Roughly half of people with PTSD will seek treatment. A portion of cases will resolve within a few weeks or months, while others will persist for years.