Although historically associated with exposure to combat, research during the past few decades shows that PTSD may also occur following exposure to other traumas, ranging from dog bites to hurricanes. If this is the case, you might wonder why there aren’t more people suffering from PTSD. The reality is that not everyone who experiences a trauma will develop PTSD. So, why do some people develop PTSD while others do not? Unfortunately, there is not a concrete answer to this question. However, there are factors that might increase one’s likelihood to develop PTSD. One such factor is preexisting mental illness. Those who have suffered from a mental illness prior to the trauma may be more likely to develop PTSD. In this Discussion, you will consider the importance of understanding risk factors associated with PTSD in responding to survivors of disasters, crises, and traumas. Review PTSD criteria, as noted in the DSM–5.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Reflect on a disaster, crisis, or trauma with which you are familiar and bring to mind the affected populations of survivors.
- Consider which populations of survivors might have been particularly vulnerable to developing PTSD and why.
- Think about why an understanding of risk factors associated with PTSD might be important to response efforts.