Issues Unique (Or More Prevalent) in Women
- Women are slightly less likely to experience a traumatic event in their lives than men. However, given such an event, they are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD compared to men, and 10% of American women suffer the symptoms of PTSD during their lifetime.
- Women are more likely to suffer sexual abuse in their lifetimes than men, either from within the family (e.g. incest, domestic violence), within social circles (e.g. date rape), or by strangers (e.g. sexual assault). It is well known that such events are under-reported and the resulting physical and mental health consequences are under-treated.
- Women with trauma histories are vulnerable to a wide variety of other problems, including chronic pain, sleep disorders, eating disorders, self-destructive behavior, depression, and substance abuse in addition to PTSD. Many physicians presented with such complaints may view them as the primary problem, and not realize that they are tied to trauma histories.
- Social support is particularly important for the prevention of PTSD in women following a traumatic event(s).
- Women and men experience PTSD differently. Women are more likely than men to have repeated painful memories of the event, experience emotional numbing and a limit in the range of expressed emotions, and be easily startled. Men are more likely than women to experience impulsivity and irritability. Women also appear to recover from PTSD more slowly than men, and are four times more likely to develop chronic symptoms.
Links and Resources
- Click here for the government report on violence against women in the U.S.
- Watch a video about treating the female veteran.
- To review a list of resources, please click here and type “women” into the search box.