Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), develops after a person is exposed to severe trauma. Although PTSD is often associated with combat, it can occur following any severe trauma, such as a natural disaster, terrorist incident, serious accident, personal assault, mass violence or sudden death of a loved one.
People who develop PTSD may experience disturbing memories or nightmares that cause them to relieve the traumatic incident time and time again. Most people recover from the traumatic event, but some remain depressed or anxious for many months, or even years.
PTSD affects both genders, but it affects women differently. Men are more likely to experience severe trauma, but women have a higher likelihood of developing symptoms of PTSD.
How PTSD Affects Women
Studies indicate that at least half of all women will experience some type of trauma at least one time during their life, and sexual assault is the most common form. Women are more likely than men to be neglected or sexually abused as children, and also have a substantially higher rate of domestic violence as adults.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, women who develop PTSD as a result of sexual violence experience symptoms similar to those of male combat victims.
Women in the Military
Although the number of women in combat has increased in recent years, female soldiers are still greatly outnumbered by men. However, statistics indicate that women in the military are more likely to be sexually assaulted, which means that many female soldiers experience dual trauma.