What are common risk factors for traumatic stress?

Risk Factors

Although researchers don’t know exactly what causes post-traumatic stress disorder, they do know some of the risk factors involved, or the things that make you more likely to get PTSD.

People of all ages can have post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s relatively common among adults, with about 7 percent to 8 percent of the population having PTSD at some point in their lives. In any given year, about 5 million U.S. adults have PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder is especially common among those who have served in combat, and it’s sometimes called “shell shock,” “battle fatigue” and “combat stress.”

 Kinds of traumatic events

People with PTSD most often experience one or more of these four types of traumatic events:

  • Seeing someone being killed or badly injured
  • Living through a fire, flood or natural disaster
  • Living through a life-threatening accident
  • Having been in combat

But many other traumatic events also can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, including rape, mugging, robbery, assault, civil conflict, car accident, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, childhood physical abuse or neglect, sexual molestation, being threatened with a weapon, terrorist attacks, and other extreme or life-threatening events.

Increasing your risk

Not everyone who experiences these kinds of traumatic events goes on to develop post-traumatic stress disorders. Some factors that may make you more likely to get PTSD after a traumatic event include:

  • The traumatic event is especially severe or intense.
  • The traumatic event was long-lasting.
  • Having an existing mental health condition.
  • Lacking a good support system of family and friends.
  • Having family members with PTSD.
  • Having family members with depression.
  • Even though military sexual trauma is far more common in women, over half of all veterans with military sexual trauma are men.

Source : Mayo Clinic