Many people have trouble adjusting or coping after they experience traumatic events. This problem is only temporary with good self-care. When their symptoms get worse and last for months, they develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there’s more to the leading causes of PTSD than experiencing trauma.
Understanding the Leading Causes of PTSD
Experts aren’t sure why some people develop PTSD, but others don’t. However, there are many types of trauma and factors that create the leading causes of PTSD.
The most common traumas that cause PTSD include childhood physical abuse, combat exposure, and sexual violence. Being in an accident, having a life-threatening experience and other types of assault are traumas as well. Some examples of life-threatening experiences include terrorist attacks, natural disasters and criminal incidents such as muggings and robberies.
One factor that affects the development of PTSD is how the mind and body respond to trauma. Some experts believe that it’s the result of an automatic mechanism. The purpose of this mechanism is to help people survive more traumatic incidents when they take place.
Flashbacks, for instance, force people to think about the trauma in detail to prepare for if it happens again. Instead, this response prevents them from moving on.
High adrenaline levels are another response. The body naturally produces stress hormones, including adrenaline, when people are in danger. This reaction numbs pain and the senses. However, people with PTSD have high amounts of adrenaline even when no danger is present.
How the brain processes trauma is another factor that can cause PTSD. According to brain scans of people with the disorder, the hippocampus is smaller than normal. This part of the brain regulates emotions and memory. When it malfunctions, it could prevent the proper processing of nightmares and flashbacks.
Other Risk Factors
Several other factors can contribute to the development of PTSD. A common one is inherent personality traits such as temperament. Mental health problems such as anxiety or depression can run in families as well. Having blood relatives with these issues increases people’s risk of developing mental illnesses such as PTSD.
Abusing alcohol and drugs can prevent people from processing trauma, which increases their risk too. The abuse usually starts because they don’t know how to handle the stress of the trauma that they experience. When they don’t get trauma therapy to deal with their emotions, the substance use continues. It can eventually lead to dependence, addiction, and overdose, which is sometimes fatal.
Get Help for PTSD
Getting treatment when PTSD symptoms manifest is vital to recovering from trauma and preventing substance abuse. If substance abuse is already a problem, however, Morningside Recovery can help. We offer dual diagnosis treatment that addresses several mental health issues, including:
- Anxiety treatment
- Bipolar disorder treatment
- Depression treatment
- Personality disorder treatment
- PTSD treatment
Don’t let the leading causes of PTSD hold you back from living an enjoyable life. Seek therapy today so that you can learn how to cope and recover in a healthy environment. Call 855-631-2135 for more information about how our treatment programs can help you.