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A-B-C, Women and PTSD, It’s Easy Like 1-2-3: Medical Trauma, Women and PTSD

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is a mental disorder following a terrible or life-threatening event. Reactions to a traumatic event during or after the time of the event is completely normal. This is the body’s way of protecting itself against a perceived threat. Normally, the person will recover from the event and go back to normal weeks later. However, if a person’s reaction to the event is over one month, then they have PTSD. Almost 8% of the general population have PTSD. While 15-30% of trauma survivors will develop PTSD. Veterans have an even higher chance of developing PTSD.

Risk Factors For PTSD include: pre-existing mental health issues, familial history of mental disorders, experiencing multiple stressors and lack of post-trauma support.

To be diagnosed with PTSD the person must have at least one re-experiencing symptom, one avoidance symptom, one avoidance symptom, two reactive symptoms and two mood symptoms. Examples of each type of symptom include:


  • Bad Dreams/ Nightmares about the event

  • Frightening Thoughts

  • Re-living the trauma, including the symptoms repeatedly- otherwise known as flashbacks


  • Keeping away from places, people, objects or events that remind the victim of the trauma

  • Stopping oneself from having thoughts and/or feelings that are connected to the event


  • Being easily startled or having the feeling of being “on edge”

  • Having difficulty sleeping

  • Angry outburst for no apparent reason


  • Negative thoughts about oneself

  • Placing blame or guilt about the event on someone who does not deserve it- Including oneself

  • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed

  • Forgetting elements of the event

Medical Trauma

Medical trauma is a different type of trauma where the life-threatening event occurs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctor’s office, to a person or a loved one. Although this type of trauma is not well known, it can also cause PTSD.

  • 77% of women who have miscarriages or stillbirths develop PTSD.

  • 20-60% of people that are in the ICU develop PTSD.

  • 30% of