Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Causes and Treatment


There is a large variety of mental health problems that can affect a person’s well-being and their ability to partake in society positively. Many of such issues are either acquired throughout one’s life and exposure to different events, or influences outside a person’s control. One such condition is Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD is usually triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, which affects a person mentally on a long-term scale. The effects can include anxiety, painful flashbacks, nightmares, or uncontrollable thoughts. The process of adjustment and coping in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder may be difficult, requiring careful treatment and support. Without proper treatment symptoms can worsen, lasting over years and impeding the person’s normal functionality. This paper aims to examine and explore the peculiarities of the condition, its main causes, risk factors, manifestations, and treatment methods. Throughout this work, a better understanding of the disorder will be reached, and possible ways of handling the topic will be found.

Main Causes

Post-traumatic disorder is a condition that a person can develop depending on the circumstances of their life, their psychological state, and their experiences. Usually, PTSD is created by experiencing an extremely stressful situation of a particular nature, be it an instance of violence, injury, or stress. The severity of the event can depend on the individual, but they are usually instances where a person’s wellbeing is being threatened or tread upon, creating danger for a person’s life. Sexual violence is another common cause of PTSD, as it is also a violation of a person’s safety and privacy in the most intimate sense. PTSD can be classified as a stress-related disorder, which means that it primarily manifests because of a person experiencing a lot of emotional turmoil, and is unable to process their emotions healthily. While the condition is primarily a result of a person’s environment and experience, genetic factors also play a role in the disorder’s development. Much like other psychiatric disorders, PTSD is familial and heritable, but the efforts to understand the genetic variants of heritability had limited success (Smoller, 2015).

Factors Contributing to the development of the condition

PTSD can develop at any age, affecting all kinds and groups of people. Children, adults, and older people are all equally susceptible to experiencing trauma. Accidents, assaults, violence directed at an individual, and other serious events are all possible consequences of living one’s life. Experiencing long-lasting or intense trauma is one of the highest risk factors that make a person more likely to develop PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 2018). Childhood abuse or traumatic events also present a higher risk, as a person’s psyche is less equipped to handle harmful influences than at an older age. Other mental problems may also introduce more danger of suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, including anxiety or depression (Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 2018). The misuse and abuse of mind-altering substances also contribute to the development of the disorder, as it impedes the functionality of the brain and represents a barrier to seeking help. Finally, lacking a strong and healthy support system, including family and friends. Without having that ability to rely on and open up to others, a person has greater difficulty overcoming challenges they are presented in life and moving past trauma.

Diagnosis techniques

According to the DSM criteria, a person needs to have been exposed to a situation that presented a threat to their well-being or the well-being of others. Such an event also has to involve feelings of helplessness, fear, or aggravation (Friedman, 1996). To diagnose a person with PTSD, a person needs to have displayed a variety of symptoms for 1 month. Their main categories include re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, arousal and reactivity symptoms, cognition, and mood symptoms (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). An adult must be able to display at least one of each to be classified as suffering from PTSD. The first category encompasses having flashbacks and harmful thoughts connected with a particular event. These can cause issues with daily functionality and routine. Avoidance symptoms, on the other hand, manifest in attempting to escape reminders of an event in their physical and mental manifestations, like not visiting certain places or avoiding thoughts. Reactivity symptoms can be described as feelings of being startled and constantly on edge, despite no danger to a person being present. The last category, cognition symptoms, present themselves in having spotty memory concerning a traumatic event, having negative thoughts on the world or oneself, general disinterest, and feelings of guilt. When a person can be identified as suffering from all of these things at the same time, that can mean that they are affected by PTSD.

Treatment options

The main methods of treating PTSD are medication, psychotherapy, or both practices. The condition can affect a person differently, meaning that the way treatment should be approached is strictly personal and dependent on their own needs. Being in contact with a meant health provider that has experience working in the field is also important, as PTSD is a complex subject. Conjecture problems that contribute to the development and perpetuation of PTSD also must be addressed, or else the treatment of the condition will be in vain. The most common type of medication that is administered for the treatment of PTSD is antidepressants, which can help manage the symptoms including worry, anxiety, sadness, or feelings of anger. OFther medication also exists to counter specific symptoms, such as an inability to sleep or nightmares. Therapy for Post-traumatic stress disorder usually involves talking with a mental health professional, who helps a person treat their mental problems. The therapy can either be in a group setting or one-on-one.

Society statistics

As experiencing traumatic events is a rather common occurrence in people’s lives, a lot of individuals are likely to suffer from PTSD. It can be understood that around 70% of all adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life, with 20% of them developing PTSD in response. The condition is also far more common in women, as a result of several social conditions, having more than twice the likeliness to develop PTSD than men.


IN conclusion, PTSD is a serious condition that threatens people of all ages and demographics, Through experiencing trauma, people can be severely affected, leading to developing symptoms that are designed to assist in erasing and coping with trauma. However, such methods are inadequate and often impede how a person can live their daily lives. Through this work, it was understood what the main causes, symptoms, risk factors, and consequences of PTSD are, which allows one to be more informed on the way to approach PTSD victims and their trauma.


Friedman, M. J. (1996). PTSD diagnosis and treatment for mental health clinicians. Community Mental Health Journal, 32(2), 173–189. Web.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (2018). Web.

Smoller, J. W. (2015). The Genetics of Stress-Related Disorders: PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety Disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(1), 297–319. Web.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Web.

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