Causes and Effects of PTSD

Reviewed by our psychologist : Nine Gramberg

How does PTSD develop as a result of trauma? What are the factors that influence whether or not you develop PTSD as a response to trauma? And how does PTSD affect your daily life and health? Read this article to find out.

An overview of this article:

  • What Causes PTSD?
  • How Does PTSD Develop?
  • What Are the Effects of PTSD?
  • Want to Talk about PTSD?

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD is caused by trauma. You experience trauma when a distressing, shocking, or frightening event happens in your life. This may be a one-time event, such as an accident or hospitalization. But post-traumatic stress disorder can also occur as the result of repeated events. For example, recurrent abuse or sexual abuse. 

Sometimes it might be caused by a moment in your life that you don’t see or recognize as trauma. Maybe this is because you don’t like thinking about that event or you’ve managed to convince yourself that it wasn’t that bad.

Click here to read about trauma and its possible causes or the events that can lead to trauma. 

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How Does PTSD Develop as a Result of Trauma?

Not everyone who experiences trauma also develops PTSD. Whether or not you get PTSD will depend on several factors:

  1. The nature of the shocking event
    Have you been admitted to hospital, experienced the death of a loved one, or been deployed to a war zone? Different traumas have different consequences in terms of the (severity of the) symptoms you experience.
  2. Single incident or complex trauma
    Was it a one-off event that caused your trauma? We’d call this single incident trauma. Or was it a recurring event, such as abuse or mistreatment? Are you experiencing ongoing or complex trauma? The duration of the events and the number of the events will affect whether or not you develop PTSD.
  3. Your individual resilience
    Everyone has their own emotional carry capacity and everyone processes events in their own way. This is partly hereditary, but your upbringing also plays a role. It determines what you are and aren’t able to process.
  4. Your support network
    Do you have people in your life you can trust, who make you feel supported and understood? Are you able to open up and talk about what happened? If you can speak to somebody, you’ll find it much easier to process trauma.

Genetics and gender: There seem to be certain genetic factors that determine how susceptible you are to developing PTSD after trauma. Women are also more likely to get PTSD than men.

What Are the Effects of PTSD?

PTSD has various consequences, including a range of symptoms. You become anxious and you’re constantly on your guard against danger that’s no longer present. You relive the event over and over again, which means you start to avoid people and places. Click here to learn more about the symptoms of PTSD.

In addition to the symptoms that post-traumatic stress disorder causes, it also has long-term effects. The longer that PTSD lasts, the worse the symptoms often become:

  • As your psychological symptoms get more intense, you become more and more isolated. 
  • You remain stuck in the past, terrified of re-experiencing the thing that happened. 
  • You find it increasingly difficult to maintain relationships. There may be friction within your family. 
  • You may find yourself arguing with relatives and people at work. 
  • It’s also possible to experience physical symptoms and health problems as a result of PTSD. You could suffer from heart palpitations or hyperventilation. 
  • You might also turn to self-harm.
  • Abusing alcohol and drugs is another possible consequence of PTSD.

With the right treatment, you can make a good recovery from PTSD. Click here to learn more about recovering from PTSD.

Want to talk about PTSD?

Have you experienced trauma and are you concerned about developing post-traumatic stress disorder? Do you need someone to answer your questions, offer immediate help or just provide a listening ear? A psychologist can help you. Book a consultation with an expert for personal advice and professional customized treatment.

Psychologist : Nine Gramberg

“The effects of PTSD have an affect on your entire life, so talking about it is important“

Would you rather have the support of a professional?

Contact one of our psychologists today without obligation. You can talk about your feelings and symptoms and get information about a suitable treatment programme for you.