30 Distressing PTSD Statistics & Facts for 2021

PTSD Statistics

The public is familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as battle fatigue or shell shock, because of the war veterans who suffer from it. However, PTSD statistics show that this disorder can strike anyone, even children.

The natural fight-or-flight response is damaged in people who have PTSD. Their heightened sense of danger causes them to always feel like they’re in danger, even when they’re safe. PTSD can happen to anyone and at any age, and it’s not a sign of weakness or a character flaw.

If you suspect that you or someone you care about has PTSD, don’t worry. PTSD facts show that you’re not alone. Millions of people all around the world share your struggle, and there’s no need to be afraid. Just take a look at some of the statistics and facts about post-traumatic stress disorder that we have collected. They may sound scary, but they’ll show that you’re definitely not the only one with this problem.

Top 10 Upsetting Facts and Statistics on PTSD

  • Up to 40% of children experience at least one trauma during their childhood.
  • Approximately 15% of the Vietnam War veterans were diagnosed with PTSD in the late 80s.
  • More than 8 million Americans suffer from PTSD.
  • Over 30% of first responders are diagnosed with PTSD.
  • Over 20% of veterans are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • Every day, 20 veterans commit suicide.
  • As VA PTSD statistics claim, in 2010 alone, PTSD veteran treatment cost more than $40 billion.
  • Close to 20% of police officers in the US suffer from PTSD.
  • Over 60% of men experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime.
  • PTSD patients without insurance will pay over $30,000 per year for CBD.

If you want to know more about the history of PTSD, what causes it, what PTSD symptoms look like, how to help someone with PTSD, or how CBD and PTSD are connected, keep reading.

General Statistics and Facts About PTSD

1. More than 8 million Americans suffer from PTSD.


So is PTSD a disability? Actually, no; it’s a mental health issue. The official PTSD definition states that this is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have gone through a shock or a trauma such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war, combat, rape, or other violent personal assault. It can affect people of all ages, ethnicity, nationality, and culture.

2. According to PTSD statistics from 2017, over 40% of people who start treatment for PTSD show positive results in just six weeks.

(The Recovery Village) (Healthline)

The most common symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks to the traumatic event, nightmares, emotional apathy, depression, lack of interest in daily activities, bouts of anger, anxiety, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, negative thoughts about oneself, etc. If signs of PTSD are spotted, they can be treated successfully.

3. Over 60% of men experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime.

(US Department of VA)

PTSD stats show that this is also the case for 50% of women in the US. While PTSD symptoms in women are the same as those that men experience, women are more likely to experience PTSD as a result of sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse.

On the other hand, men are more likely to experience this condition because of accidents, physical assault, war, disaster, or various injuries.

4. More than 5% of US adolescents aged 13-18 have PTSD.


This proves what we already mentioned. PTSD statistics confirm that post-traumatic stress disorder can affect any age group. Over 8% of females from this age group suffer from PTSD, compared to more than 2% of males.

5. Up to 40% of children experience at least one trauma during their childhood.

(US Department of VA)

It’s possible for children and teenagers to suffer from PTSD if they’ve seen a friend’s suicide, experienced any type of abuse, lived through disasters like school shootings, floods, car crashes and fires, or witnessed violence where they live.

6. As PTSD statistics for veterans report, less than 8% of PTSD victims express violent behavior.

(Psychology Today)

It’s a common misconception that PTSD victims are violent and can’t differentiate between reality and war flashbacks. This view is nothing else but the classic movie representation of PTSD victims. The truth is that some PTSD patients may express violent behavior, but usually, they abuse drugs or suffer from other mental issues, which makes some of them violent. The great majority shows the usual PTSD symptoms.

PTSD in Veterans Statistics

7. Up to 20% of veterans who served in OIF and OEF suffer from PTSD.

(US News)

The number of veterans with PTSD depends on which service areas they’ve been involved with. Some veterans have seen combat, some have been through horrible, life-threatening situations. As a result, Operation Iraqui Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OED) have left 11 to 20 out of 100 veterans with PTSD.

8. Approximately 15% of the Vietnam War veterans were diagnosed with PTSD in the late 80s.

(Very Well Mind)

As PTSD Vietnam War statistics report, it’s estimated that 30% of all Vietnam veterans have suffered from PTSD during their lifetime. The same study found that there were also more than 1 million lifetime PTSD cases caused by the Vietnam War.

9. Over 10% of the Gulf war veterans have PTSD.

(US News)

The nature of combat has changed greatly since WWI and WWII, so the statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder increased in the meantime. Veterans aren’t returning home with a unanimous victory; they experience new pressures and challenges instead.

10. PTSD military statistics show that more than 50% of women experience military sexual trauma (MST).

(US Department of VA)

Any sexual harassment or assault can cause PTSD. It can happen to both men and women during combat, training, or peacetime. However, only 20% of women report MST. In addition to this, over 30% of men have experienced MST.

11. Over 20% of veterans are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

(Addiction Center)

Military PTSD statistics report that drug and alcohol addictions are even harder to overcome if a person also suffers from PTSD. The withdrawal symptoms, combined with PTSD symptoms, intensify the negative feelings and emotions that often lead to relapse.

12. Every day, 20 veterans commit suicide.

(USA MHFA) (Better Help)

PTSD can cause war flashbacks and acute stress disorder, among other things, which can further compel them to try to self-medicate, abuse drugs, or turn to excessive drinking, instead of seeking professional medical help.

As PTSD in veterans facts show, PTSD sometimes causes such unbearable symptoms that veterans see suicide as the only way out. Every year, around 8,000 suicide cases happen due to PTSD.

13. VA provides close to 200 programs for treating PTSD.

(US Department of VA)

It’s never too late to seek treatment for PTSD. Therapy and counseling can help with managing the symptoms and prevent them from becoming worse. There are group therapies, psychotherapy, family therapy, various PTSD medication, and other forms of treatment and support.

14. As VA PTSD statistics claim, PTSD veteran treatment cost more than $40 billion in 2010 alone.

(The New York Times)

PTSD treatment is essential. It can cost over $8,000 per person, and the price increases with every year of treatment. Many veterans don’t suffer from PTSD only; they also have other mental health issues, which raises the overall cost. However, these are just the figures for veterans who are treated by the VA. Some of them are treated privately, and some aren’t treated at all.

Police PTSD Statistics

15. Close to 20% of police officers in the US suffer from PTSD.

(Psychology Today)

PTSD is usually associated with the military, but police officers suffer from it as well. Research suggests that the number of police officers with PTSD is almost as high as the number of veterans. Another research suggests that there are more than 30% of police officers with PTSD symptoms who don’t meet the criteria for the full diagnosis.

16. One in four police officers thinks of suicide.


As PTSD suicide statistics report, more than 100 police officers have committed suicide in 2017 alone. The research also shows that more police officers die by suicide than in the line of duty. Law enforcement reports much higher levels of mental health issues than the general population.

17. Only 3% of law enforcement have suicide prevention training programs.

(Ruderman Family Foundation)

In some cases, PTSD can’t be prevented, but it can be treated successfully. The shame and stigma surrounding mental health with professions that glorify the bravery and toughness can be shattered.

First Responders PTSD Statistics

18. More than 30% of first responders are diagnosed with PTSD.

(Graham Medical)

As the name suggests, first responders (paramedics, firefighters, EMT, police officers, etc.) are usually the first to arrive on the scene. They surely are brave, but the trauma of what they see and live through every day can have a great impact on their mental health.

19. One in ten first responders deals with PTSD.

(Medcom Trainex)

Due to the stigma that first responders often experience various traumas, many of them tend to underreport their symptoms. PTSD statistics show 39% of the responders fear they would miss out on promotion at work due to admitting their disorder. 45% claim the colleagues would label them as “weak”.

20. Close to 40% of firefighters have PTSD.


This disorder doesn’t only affect the first responders but also those who surround them. The continuous exposure during one’s career to what is commonly known as bad calls can accumulate and impact one’s psyche.


21. PTSD statistics from 2018 show that over 70% of patients who have used CBD oil for PTSD stopped having nightmares.

(Healthcare in America)

The same research showed that the majority of the patients also reported an increase in their sleep quality and fewer PTSD flashbacks. While both THC and CBD oil help people who suffer from PTSD, CBD oil is more accessible and has no psychoactive side effects.

22. CBD for PTSD is not addictive like prescription medications and opioids.

(Healthcare in America)

CBD doesn’t have psychoactive side effects, interesting facts about PTSD show, and has fewer side effects than traditional prescription drugs. This is a safe and non-toxic alternative that can greatly improve the quality of life of PTSD patients.

23. PTSD patients without insurance will pay over $30,000 per year for CBD.

(The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Although medical marijuana for PTSD can cost as low as 80 cents per 10mg, the costs per dose can accumulate quickly. Despite not having adverse effects like regular prescription drugs, in total it can cost far more than the traditional medications.

24. More than 40 studies and military PTSD facts show that CBD has positive effects on managing PTSD.

(Remedy Review)

Some PTSD victims turn to marijuana PTSD treatment, which has high THC levels. On the other hand, CBD can boost serotonin receptors in the brain and increase feelings of relaxation, without getting the patient “high.”

The VA doesn’t recommend CBD as a treatment, though. However, controlled studies have shown that CBD has the potential for treating multiple PTSD symptoms, including anxiety, avoidance, and stress.

PTSD Facts and Myths

25. Post-traumatic stress disorder cannot be treated.

(Psychology Today)

PTSD can be treated in a number of ways. There are many methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and EMDR. Various mood stabilizers can also help, and medicinal marijuana and PTSD can be a successful match, too.

26. If a trauma happened a long time ago, it’s too late to deal with it.

(Psych Central)

It’s never too late for therapy. People may think they’re too old to resolve their issues, but PTSD age statistics claim that even if the trauma happens in childhood and decades go by, it’s still better to work on it than leave it untreated.

27. Post-traumatic stress disorder develops right away after the trauma.

(Bridges to Recovery)

People believe that if PTSD symptoms don’t develop right after the trauma, they’re safe. However, PTSD may appear months or even years after the trauma. It can also appear right after the trauma, as veteran PTSD statistics have shown, then go away only to come back months or years after.

28. People with PTSD can’t control themselves.

(Very Well Mind)

Symptoms of PTSD can be scary, but they don’t mean that a person can’t have self-control. As a matter of fact, people with PTSD are always in control in a way, as their body is ready for another action.

29. PTSD victims can’t process the trauma if they don’t remember the event.

(Psych Central)

As stats on PTSD claim, some therapies don’t rely on patients’ memories to treat the trauma. Evidence-based therapies believe that the trauma is stored in the body, and it can be processed when the trauma survivor connects the feeling of terror with what their body is feeling.

30. Mentally strong people can deal with PTSD on their own.

(Hartgrove Hospital)

Even the mentally strongest people in the world can’t deal with a mental health issue on their own because it won’t go away by itself. If someone suffers from PTSD, they need professional medical attention.

Bottom Line

Positive and negative emotions and feelings are a normal part of life. The problem arises when they start affecting our life in an extremely negative way. These PTSD statistics are here to inform you and help you identify early signs of PTSD in yourself and your loved ones.

If you suspect that someone you love or you have PTSD, we advise you to seek professional help. You are not alone in this, and it’s nothing to feel ashamed about. With the help of therapy, support groups, and medication, you can soon feel better.


What percentage of veterans suffer from PTSD?

As we have mentioned, the number of veterans who suffer from PTSD depends on the service area they’ve been involved with. Depending on where they’ve been, what they’ve seen and lived through, the percentage of veterans who have PTSD can range anywhere from 10% to 30%.

(US Department of VA)


How many people struggle with PTSD?

On a worldwide level, over 300 million adults suffer from PTSD. In addition to this, it’s believed that over 100 million adults around the world suffer from both PTSD and MD (major depression). It’s estimated that in the United States, every six out of 10 men suffer from PTSD, as well as every five out of 10 women.


What are the 17 PTSD symptoms?

PTSD symptoms include, but are not limited to flashbacks, nightmares, always being on guard, having recurrent memories of the traumatic event, negative thoughts about oneself and other people or the world, trying to avoid thinking or talking about the event, hopelessness about the future, overwhelming guilt or shame, memory problems, difficulty maintaining close relationships, trouble concentrating, feeling emotionally numb, difficulty experiencing positive emotions, feeling detached from family and friends, being easily frightened, self-destructive behavior, trouble sleeping, re-enacting the event.

(Mayo Clinic)


Do all trauma victims suffer from PTSD?

No, not everyone who goes through trauma suffers from PTSD as most victims recover quickly. Researchers are studying the importance of various risk and resilience factors, and it may be possible to predict who is likely to develop PTSD. This could help to prevent it in the future.


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