- What is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD?
- Who gets PTSD?
- What are the symptoms of PTSD?
- Do children react differently than adults?
- How is PTSD detected?
- Why do some people get PTSD and other people do not?
- How is PTSD treated?
- Other medications
- Treatment after mass trauma
- What efforts are under way to improve the detection and treatment of PTSD?
- How can I help a friend or relative who has PTSD?
- How can I help myself?
- Where can I go for help?
- What if I or someone I know is in crisis?
- For more information on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Why do some people get PTSD and other people do not?
It is important to remember that not everyone who lives through a dangerous event gets PTSD. In fact, most will not get the disorder.
Many factors play a part in whether a person will get PTSD. Some of these are risk factors that make a person more likely to get PTSD. Other factors, called resilience factors, can help reduce the risk of the disorder. Some of these risk and resilience factors are present before the trauma and others become important during and after a traumatic event.Risk factors for PTSD include:2
- Living through dangerous events and traumas
- Having a history of mental illness
- Getting hurt
- Seeing people hurt or killed
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
- Having little or no social support after the event
- Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home.
- Seeking out support from other people, such as friends and family
- Finding a support group after a traumatic event
- Feeling good about one’s own actions in the face of danger
- Having a coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
- Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear.
Researchers are studying the importance of various risk and resilience factors. With more study, it may be possible someday to predict who is likely to get PTSD and prevent it.