What is PTSD?

Working with Patients




Resources and References

Reading List

Links and Downloads


About Us

Our Team

Privacy Information

Contact Us

More Information: References

More Information: References

There is much research on the spread and treatment of PTSD.
Click one of the following categories to explore some of the latest PTSD research:
Traumatic Experience 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. source
PTSD Diagnosis Of these, 20% go on to develop PTSD. source
Overall Prevalence An estimated 8% of Americans – 24.4 million people – have PTSD at any given time. source
Chances over Time An estimated 7.8% of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. source
Within the Mental Health System Almost 50% of all outpatient mental health patients have PTSD. source

PTSD is common in the United States. Any victim of a traumatic event is at risk for PTSD, though most do not develop the disorder. A large percent of patients within the mental health system, however, do suffer with PTSD.

Women and PTSD An estimated 1 out of 10 women develops PTSD. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD. source
Diagnosis Across Gender 10% of women will receive diagnoses of PTSD, while only five% of men are diagnosed with the disorder. source
Children and Trauma Children are less likely to experience PTSD after trauma than adults, especially if they are under 10 years of age. source
Race and PTSD Prevalence The lifetime prevalence of PTSD was highest among Blacks (8.7%), intermediate among Hispanics and Whites (7.4%), and lowest among Asians (4.0%). source
Race and Treatment All non-white groups were less likely to seek treatment for PTSD than Whites, and fewer than half of minorities sought treatment. source
Exposure to War 3 out of 10 individuals who have spent civilian or military time in a war zone will develop PTSD. source

Anyone is susceptible to PTSD. Women are much more likely to develop and be diagnosed with PTSD. Children are less likely under a certain age. Non-white populations are slightly more likely to develop PTSD, though they are often less likely to receive treatment. Combat exposure of all kinds is a significant risk factor.

Hereditary Links There is evidence that susceptibility to PTSD is hereditary. Approximately 30% of the variance in PTSD is caused from genetics alone. source
PTSD and The Brain The prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus have been identified as being altered in patients with PTSD. source
Anxiety Disorders Panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), and PTSD share 60% of the same genetic variance. source
Substance Dependency Alcohol, nicotine, and drug dependence share greater than 40% genetic similarities with PTSD patients. source
Substance Abuse Individuals suffering from PTSD engage in abuse of illegal and prescription drugs at a rate 3 times the general population. source
Traumatic Brain Injury Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) often are also at risk for PTSD, including mild TBI. source
Suicide Studies have shown that PTSD alone is significantly associated with suicidal ideation or attempts. Research is ongoing. source

While research is still ongoing, there is evidence of genetic markers for greater PTSD susceptibility. PTSD is categorized as an anxiety disorder and shares physical characteristics of these conditions.

Research suggests a tendency towards both drug abuse and suicide in patients with PTSD. Particularly in military populations, traumatic brain injury is often a cause of PTSD.

Tendencies toward PTSD 3 out of 10 individuals who have spent civilian or military time in a war zone will develop PTSD. source
General Prevalence 10 – 30% of veterans develop PTSD in their lifetimes. source
Across Military Branches Members of the Marines and Army are four times more likely to develop PTSD as those serving in the Air Force or Navy. source
Current Diagnosis Rates 20% of the soldiers who’ve been deployed in the past 6 years have PTSD. source
Recent Increases In the past year, the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50%. source
Sexual Assault and PTSD 17% of combat troops are women; 71% of female military personnel develop PTSD due to sexual assault within the ranks. source
Comparing Wars Gulf War: 3 - 7% returning vets have PTSD
Afghanistan: 6 – 11% returning vets have PTSD
Iraq: 12 – 20% returning vets have PTSD

Military members are at significantly higher risk of PTSD than in the general population. That said, the majority of military members do not experience PTSD.

Diagnosis of PTSD has increased, particularly for combat veterans and sufferers of sexual assault.

Diagnosis Increases Since the introduction of the DSM-IV, the number of possible events which might be used to diagnose PTSD has increased in studies by as much as 50%. source
Delayed Onset About a quarter of PTSD cases did not appear until 9 to 25 months after the traumatic event. source
Treatment Successes PTSD is treatable. 80% of those diagnosed with PTSD, given proper treatment, enter remission after 5 years. source
Benefits From a Diagnosis A PTSD diagnosis can qualify a military member for a 50% disability rating and a medical retirement that includes a pension and other benefits. source

Diagnosis of PTSD in general has increased and its definition has been refined. Its appearance is often delayed, but it remains a very treatable condition.

A correct diagnosis can often help connect patients to various resources.