Reviewed by Melinda (Santa) Gladden, LCSW
Research indicates that 3.6% of those 18 and older in the United States alone live with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD per year. PTSD is considered a common mental health disorder, but there are some misunderstandings about post-traumatic stress disorder and what it is. There are many stereotypes and assumptions made about PTSD. One of the most common assumptions made about PTSD is that it affects adults in the military and does not affect anyone else. This could not be more or false; post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, and it affects people of all ages. So, what age group shows the most PTSD? In this article, we will go over the average age of onset for post-traumatic stress disorder and other PTSD statistics.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition or disorder that can develop after a traumatic event. Not all, or even most, survivors of traumatic events go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, but it is a disorder that is born out of trauma in some people
Symptoms or signs of post-traumatic stress disorder include but are not limited to:
- Re-experiencing traumatic events, whether that is through flashbacks, nightmares, or something else
- Irritability or agitation
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Social withdrawal or isolation from others
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
- Difficulty trusting other people
- Emotional detachment
- Feelings of guilt
- Self-destructive behaviors
Diagnostically speaking, to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, you have to have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD must affect your life and ability to function in social relationships or social situations, work, school, self-care, and so on to be diagnosed. It is normal to experience emotional consequences after trauma, but PTSD is more severe, and the impact is long-lasting. The good news is that post-traumatic stress disorder is a treatable condition. There are several studied treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, including therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy or EMDR. For all information regarding specific treatments and therapies, make sure to speak with a medical or mental health professional who can give you individual medical or mental health advice.
What Age Group Shows The Most PTSD?
Statistics from the national institute of Mental Health NIMH suggest that individuals aged 45 to 59 have the highest prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder, followed by those aged 18 to 29. Here are the percentages found in those studies:
- 4% of People ages 18 through 29 have post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 5% of people aged 30 to 44 have post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 3% of those 45 through 59 have post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 1% of those aged 60 or older have post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is important to note that children can also experience PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD and children can differ from those seen in adulthood with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. Though some symptoms are the same, children might experience other symptoms, such as reenacting traumatic events through play. Sources say that, out of the children who experience trauma, the development of post-traumatic stress disorder in kids is more likely to occur in girls than in boys. More specifically, 3%-15% of girls and 1-6% of boys develop PTSD after a traumatic event.
Other PTSD Facts and Statistics
Here are some other facts and statistics about post-traumatic stress disorder that might surprise you:
- Again, post-traumatic stress disorder impacts people of different genders disproportionately, in both children and adults—the reason why is unknown. Post-traumatic stress disorder is more common in females than in males, though it can affect all genders. More specifically, 5.2% of females experience PTSD, whereas 1.6% of males experience PTSD. That is where the statistic of 3.6% of all individuals is born.
- Many people living with post-traumatic stress disorder have a comorbid mental health condition. Common comorbidities seen in post-traumatic stress disorder include anxiety disorders, substance use disorder, and depressive disorders.
- Before the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, the DSM-5, PTSD was diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. It is now diagnosed under a new category, which is called "trauma and stressor-related disorders."
- There are many different potential causes of PTSD. These causes include but are not limited to car accidents, illness or injury, sexual assault, natural disasters, domestic violence, witnessing violence, and more.
- According to the National Institute on Mental Health NIMH, 36.6% of those living with post-traumatic stress disorder experience serious impairment, while 30.2% experience moderate impairment, and 33.1% experience mild impairment. This statistic is derived from the prevalence of the impact of PTSD over a year, so the current numbers may differ.
- Roughly, 30%of veterans are said to have post-traumatic stress disorder.
There are several ways that you can gain support for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Of course, treatment is the most important thing to pursue if you are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that are affecting your life. Peer support, in conjunction with therapy, can be highly beneficial as well. It is never a replacement for treatment, but peer support does have a special place because it provides individuals living with post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health disorders with a sense of community and understanding.
Finding Peer Support
Here are some ways to find peer support for post-traumatic stress disorder:
Visit Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Forums Online:
There are several support forums online that you can use. Where support groups meet at specific times, forums can often be used anywhere at any time, as long as you have an Internet connection. Here are some active online forums for people living with post-traumatic stress disorder:
My PTSD forum
My PTSD forum is an online forum-based community for those living with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The mentalhealthforum.net Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Forum
Mentalhealthforum.net is a website with forums for various mental health conditions and concerns, including anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.
The Beyond Blue PTSD and Trauma Forum
Beyond Blue is an Australian-based organization. Their website has mental health forums, including one for post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma, among other resources. Click here to go to the Beyond Blue post-traumatic stress disorder forum.
The psychforums.com Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Forum
Like mentalhealthforum.net, psychforums.com is a website with various forums for many mental health conditions or concerns, including anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depressive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. Click here to go to the psychforums.com post-traumatic stress disorder forum.
Find a Support group In Your Area
To find a support group near you, you may ask a trauma-informed mental health provider who specializes in trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder for recommendations. Another way to find a support group in your area is to search for "trauma support groups near me" or "PTSD support groups near me" using your search engine of choice. In some cases, you will find support groups for PTSD or trauma surrounding specific sources of trauma. For example, if you have survived a car accident, you may be able to find a group of car accident survivors. The same is true for other traumas, like domestic violence and natural disasters.
No matter what route you take, make sure to remember that it is possible to heal from post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are searching for a counselor or therapist in your area, there are several ways that you can go about finding one. You may decide to go to your doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist or counselor. Another option is to search the web for "trauma therapist near me" or "PTSD counselors near me" using your search engine of choice. If you are interested in remote therapy or services, consider using an online therapy company like Better Help.
Take the Mind Diagnostics PTSD Test
Are you wondering if you could have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test. Although taking the test is not a replacement for a diagnosis from a medical or mental health professional, the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test can give your insight into your symptoms and what you're going through, and taking the test might just be the first step to getting the help that you need. While PTSD can affect people of all ages, the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test is for those aged 18 and older.
To take the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test, click the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/ptsd-test.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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