32+ Upsetting and Interesting Facts About PTSD 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 that suffer from it. However, interesting facts about PTSD  show that this disorder can strike anyone on the planet.

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. What is more, the coronavirus pandemic has added to the facts about post-traumatic stress disorder too.

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 data about post-traumatic stress disorder that we have collected, and about the treatment, too.  

10 Most Interesting Facts About PTSD for 2021 

  • More than 8 million Americans suffer from PTSD.
  • Over 60% of men experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime.
  • 35% of ICU survivors reported having major PTSD symptoms.
  • Torture and sexual assault victims are 50% more likely to develop PTSD.
  • 15% to 43% of children experience at least one trauma during their childhood.
  • About 354 million war survivors worldwide suffer from PTSD and (or) depression.
  • Veterans with PTSD are 60% more likely to be involved in criminal behavior, compared to veterans without PTSD.
  • About 30% of first responders are diagnosed with PTSD and depression.
  • 77% of Massachusetts veterans use medical cannabis to minimize the use of prescribed medications.
  • Cannabis can reduce flashbacks by 51%.

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.

Worldwide Statistics and Facts About PTSD

PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that can be caused by severe trauma (like death, war, violence). How many people experience this mental health condition? 

1. About 8 million Americans suffer from PTSD per annum.

(APA) (US Department of VA

So is PTSD a disability? Actually, no, it belongs to the long list of mental health issues. 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. PTSD and coronavirus facts: the global pandemic created post-COVID stress disorder, a brand-new type. 

(Psychiatric Times

The most common triggers that could cause this disorder are the death of a family member or a close friend due to COVID-19; hospitalization, severe illness, constant exposure to coronavirus news and details, quarantine, and social isolation.

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

(US Department of VA)

That’s 6 out of 10 men. 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. Torture and sexual assault victims are 50% more likely to develop PTSD.  

(Michigan Medicine)

PTSD prevalence is highest among victims of sexual assault. This is compared to the fact that up to 30% of combat and physical assault victims and 10% of people who experienced vehicle accidents and natural disasters develop some form of PTSD.

5. 35% of ICU survivors reported having major PTSD symptoms even two years after being released.

(Michigan Medicine) (BBC)

Patients that have been receiving long treatment in the ICUs (intensive care units) are at higher risk of developing PTSD. That’s why it’s crucial to provide psychiatric care after the patient has been stabilized. 

This also shows a link between coronavirus and PTSD development. In other words, COVID-19 survivors are at higher risk of getting diagnosed with PTSD.

6. 12% of Australians will experience PTSD during their life.

(Sane)

While various traumatic events can be responsible for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as living under constant stress or having a history of some other mental illness, the main cause of this disorder in the country are severe car accidents, based on PTSD statistics from Australia.

7. 15% to 43% 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.

The chances of developing PTSD are higher among girls (3% to 15%) than boys (1% to 6%).

8. About 354 million war survivors worldwide suffer from PTSD and (or) depression. 

(NCBI)

On that note, there are roughly 117 million war survivors globally suffering from both PTSD and depression at the same time.

PTSD in Veterans Statistics

How many veterans show signs of PTSD and what are the veteran suicide rates?

9. Veterans with PTSD are 60% more likely to be involved in criminal behavior.

(US Department of VA)

Those who have developed PTSD are more likely to have legal problems that can lead to arrests for violent offenses, compared to veterans without PTSD. One of the possible explanations may be the fact that people who have been traumatized have higher chances of engaging in criminal acts. 

10. Up to 20% of veterans who served in OIF and OEF suffer from PTSD, military PTSD stats indicate.

(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 in the given year.

11. Interesting facts about PTSD and post-9/11 veterans show that 83% reported suffering from PTSD.

(WWP)

What is more, a shocking 89% of post-9/11 veterans experienced more than three injuries or mental health issues. 

84% are having sleeping problems, 77% suffer from anxiety, and 72% reported having depression.

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

(Verywell Mind)

As the PTSD Vietnam War statistics report, it’s estimated that 30% of men veterans and 27% of women veterans had PTSD during their lifetime. 2.7 million Americans served in the Vietnam War.

Today there are about 271,000 Vietnam veterans that are still having problems with MED and PTSD. 

13. 12% 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. One of the reasons for bigger rates could be the fact that soldiers are returning home faster than before. The longer trip home allowed for sharing experiences with fellow soldiers and longer processing and healing time.

14. PTSD military statistics show us 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 even peacetime. However, only 23% of women report MST. In addition to this, over 38% of men have experienced MST.

15. 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.

16. The average number of suicides among veterans is 17.6 per day. 

(US Department of VA) (Better Help) (Psychiatry Advisor)

This is the most recent data. 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 and stats show, they are 58% higher risk of committing suicide than veterans who were not diagnosed with PTSD.

17. 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.

First Responders PTSD Statistics

First responders are trained individuals whose job is to arrive first at the scene of an accident and provide help to people in need. Firefighters, police officers, and paramedics are a typical example of first responders. That said, are they more likely to develop PTSD due to their line of work?

18. About 30% of first responders are diagnosed with PTSD and depression.

(Security Magazine)

 The same percentage for the general population is about 20%. Even worse, about 37% fire and EMS professionals have contemplated suicide as opposed to 3.7% of the population.

19. 23% of nurses in Canada screened positive for PTSD.

(CFNU)

PTSD statistics for Canada show us that the main trigger for the development of PTSD was physical assault. 92.7% of nurses report it as the most common form of a traumatic event. 

On that note, 46.4% of nurses in Canada also reported being physically attacked 11 times and more. 

20. ICU and ED staff are at higher risk of developing PTSD due to the global pandemic. 

(Top Doctors)

Healthcare workers were at higher risk of developing PTSD due to their stressful line of work even before the global pandemic. That said, ICU and ED staff (emergency department) will probably be the group that will be the most affected by many mental health disorders, from anxiety, depression, and burnout, to PTSD.   

21. Interesting facts about PTSD inform 7% to 37% of firefighters meet the PTSD diagnosis criteria.

(Verywell Mind

For firefighters, the risk factors for developing PTSD include previous mental health history, becoming a firefighter at a young age, being a supervisor, not being married, experiencing traumatic events, etc.

22. Normally, 7% to 35% police officers suffer from PTSD and depression, police PTSD statistics reveal.

(Police1)

PTSD is usually associated with the military, but police officers suffer from it as well. According to a recent study, 47% of active-duty law enforcement officers screened positive for PTSD in times of crisis (August 2020). 

On top of that, police officers with 5-10 years of experience in the force showed higher risks of developing the symptoms of PTSD and depression, as opposed to police officers with less than 5 years and over 10 years of experience. 

Sadly, most of them are reluctant to ask for professional help as the community may observe it as a sign of “weakness”.

23. 173 law enforcement officers in the US committed suicide in 2020.

(Blue Help)

Suicide and PTSD statistics from 2020 show us that 173 police officers have committed suicide in 2020 alone. Compared to 2019, when 239 police officers took their own life, there is a decrease in suicide rates among law enforcement officers.

24. Only 3%–5% of law enforcement agencies have suicide prevention training programs.

(Ruderman Family Foundation)

This fact is extremely hard to believe, but it’s true. When you know that police officers witness 188 situations described as “critical incidents” during their career, there is no excuse for such poor statistics like the one above.

Interesting Facts About PTSD and CBD 

Can CBD be used for PTSD treatment and what are its effects?

25. Military members of Massachusetts that finished service report 24% of them use medical cannabis for PTSD.

(MetroWest Daily News)

Overall, 77% of Massachusetts veterans use medical cannabis to minimize the use of prescribed medications. The stats show us 36% of Massachusetts veterans use cannabis to help them with chronic pain, 11% take it for anxiety, and 6% use cannabis to help them with depression

26. Encouraging facts about PTSD and cannabidiol: CBD for PTSD is not addictive like prescription medications and opioids.

(Healthcare in America)

Though more research is needed, it seems that CBD doesn’t have psychoactive side effects and has fewer side effects than traditional prescription drugs. Therefore, CBD has great potential to be declared as a safe and non-toxic alternative that can greatly improve the quality of life of PTSD patients.

27. Cannabis can reduce PTSD-related flashbacks by 51%. 

(ScienceDaily)

More supportive data for reducing PTSD rates. A study was using an app to track the changes in PTSD symptoms prior to and after using cannabis. The results show cannabis can reduce anxiety (by 57%), irritability (by 67%), flashbacks (by 51%), and returning thoughts (by 62%). 

Apparently, both THC and CBD, combined together, create the overall therapeutic effect. On that note, more research is needed to fully understand these short term alleviations.

28. 49 studies confirm that CBD has positive effects on managing PTSD.

(Remedy Review)

Some people with PTSD turn to marijuana PTSD treatment that has high THC levels. That may not be necessary as CBD can boost serotonin receptors in the brain and increase feelings of relaxation without getting the patient “high.” 

Controlled studies have shown that CBD can treat various PTSD symptoms, including anxiety, avoidance, and stress.

PTSD Facts and Myths

Here are the most common myths regarding PTSD you should be aware of.

29. Post-traumatic stress disorder cannot be treated.

(The Recovery Village)

PTSD can be treated in several ways. There are many helpful 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.

30. Post-traumatic stress disorder develops immediately after the traumatic experience.

(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 occur right after the trauma, as veteran PTSD statistics have shown, then go away only to come back months or years after.

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

(Psych Central)

This one belongs to not so well-known PTSD facts about successful treatment. 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 recalls the feeling of terror without necessarily remembering the exact circumstances. 

32. The mentally strong can overcome PTSD on their own.

(Hartgrove Hospital)

Even the mentally strongest people in the world should not deal with a mental health issue on their own. If someone suffers from PTSD, they should be given 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 interesting facts about PTSD are here to inform you and help you identify early signs of PTSD in yourself and your loved ones. 

If you suspect that you (or someone you love) have PTSD, we advise you to seek professional help. You are not alone in this, and it’s nothing to feel ashamed about. COVID-19 has placed a lot of challenges for all of us too. Nevertheless, with the help of therapy, support groups, and medication, you can soon feel better.

FAQs

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.

(NCBI)

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.

(NIMH)

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