PTSD is one of the most common mental illnesses veterans acquire during and after serving the country. The disorder is so debilitating that researchers and clinicians are putting a lot of efforts to understand how soldiers get PTSD and how to manage and treat the condition effectively.
Ever since the term for the disorder was coined and the symptoms identified in the 1970s, the medical community’s understanding of its risk factors and symptoms has progressed by leaps and bounds. Although some misconceptions still exist, most of the knowledge is based on insights gained from years of PTSD statistics, research, and studies.
This article aims to present the latest statistics and facts on PTSD to remove any stigma communities have and bring awareness of how severe the condition can be.
PTSD Facts and Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- Approximately 20% of Americans who experience trauma will develop PTSD.
- Up to 15% of children who experienced or witnessed traumatic events develop PTSD.
- One in four Americans believes that PTSD patients are prone to violent acts.
- The reconsolidation of traumatic memories treatment, a counseling-based treatment, has a nine out of ten success rate.
- Women are twice more likely to develop PTSD than men.
- Approximately 8 million people suffer from PTSD in a given year.
- PTSD is the second leading mental health injury sustained by veterans and active military personnel in the US.
- Approximately 4% of the global population has PTSD.
PTSD Interesting Facts
1. Approximately 20% of Americans who experience trauma will develop PTSD.
(Plymouth Psych Group)
People who experience or witness traumatic events like physical abuse, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the death of a loved one are at greater risk of developing PTSD.
According to the psychological trauma statistics 2020 article, an astounding 70% of American adults experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Considering this huge percentage, as research suggests, it’s not surprising that one in five will struggle with PTSD.
These struggles can include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, hypervigilance, negative feelings, sour mood, and avoidance of certain situations.
2. About 14% of people who experienced loss of a family member or a friend exhibit signs of PTSD.
Approximately 32% of people who are physically assaulted develop PTSD. So it’s common to associate PTSD with physical and sexual abuse. However, unknown to some people, the disorder can also develop because of a psychological ordeal.
Recent facts about PTSD point to psychological trauma as a possible cause of the condition. For instance, studies show that 14% of people who experienced a sudden death in their family or among their friends developed symptoms of PTSD.
3. Up to 15% of children who experienced or witnessed traumatic events develop PTSD.
One of the most misconstrued PTSD facts is its prevalence across different age groups. Contrary to popular belief, PTSD doesn’t just affect veterans and people in service but children too.
Statistics show that 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD after going through a traumatic event. However, symptoms among children may differ from adult PTSD symptoms. Usually, children with PTSD reenact traumatic events through play.
4. Two out of five Americans falsely believe that people who experience trauma will immediately develop PTSD.
One of the most interesting facts about PTSD is the gradual development and emergence of the disorder. About 40% of Americans mistakenly believe that PTSD develops immediately after the occurrence of a traumatic event. Though the condition can develop within three months, in reality, some cases can take years to emerge.
5. One in four Americans believes that PTSD patients are prone to violent acts.
A survey that aimed to determine how well-versed Americans are with PTSD facts and myths shows misconceptions at all levels, from symptoms to treatments. For example, about two-thirds of Americans who participated in the survey believe that most veterans have PTSD. But, only 11% to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 15% of Vietnam War veterans, and 12% of Gulf War veterans have PTSD.
Further, about 26% of Americans surveyed believe that veterans who have PTSD are violent. Though individuals suffering from the disorder are associated with the risk of violence, most people with PTSD have no records of violent acts.
6. The reconsolidation of traumatic memories treatment, a counseling-based treatment to PTSD, has a nine out of ten success rate.
It’s challenging to consider good facts about PTSD because people often associate this disorder with violence.
On the positive side and contrary to popular belief, PTSD can be managed and treated with professional and medical care. In fact, one treatment recently developed attests to a 90% success rate in treating veterans with PTSD. This treatment employs a counseling approach and requires no medication.
PTSD Facts and Statistics
7. Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD than men.
(US Department of Veterans Affairs)
According to research on the relationship between PTSD and traumatic events, sexual abuse is the most common cause of PTSD among women. Since this type of traumatic event happens more frequently to women than men, women are more likely to develop PTSD after a sexual assault.
Apart from that, studies show that women are also more inclined to blame themselves for the assault, which further aggravates the aftereffects of trauma. This is why it’s not surprising that the PTSD statistics for the two sexes report that 10% of women are likely to develop PTSD while the probability is only 4% of men.
8. Approximately 8 million people suffer from PTSD in a given year.
While researchers still can’t explain definitively why some people develop PTSD, it remains a prevalent disorder among Americans.
The statistics on PTSD from the National Center for PTSD place the number of people suffering from the condition in any given year at 8 million. Also, at least 7% to 8% of the American population will develop PTSD at some point in their lives.
9. Approximately 32% of people who were physically assaulted will probably develop PTSD.
PTSD is usually associated with war veterans and their experiences in physical combat, but some cases of the disorder are of civilians that result from non-combative traumatic experiences.
These traumatic events that lead to PTSD can range from several possible negative occurrences like natural disasters, physical assault, rape, and the death of a family member or a friend. In fact, PTSD statistics show about half of all rape victims, and 32% of victims of physical assault will develop PTSD.
These percentages are proof that PTSD isn’t exclusive to war veterans and their experiences on the battlefield.
10. Women in the armed forces who experienced military sexual trauma are three times more likely to develop PTSD.
Studies on women service members have identified the three most common risk factors for developing PTSD—military sexual trauma, combat experience, and co-existing mental illnesses.
Sexual trauma is incredibly prevalent, and reports show that 78% of women in service have experienced it. Researchers believe the pervasiveness of sexual trauma will increase the PTSD statistics in military women. The same report also shows that military sexual trauma victims are three times more likely to exhibit severe PTSD symptoms.
11. PTSD is the second leading mental health injury sustained by veterans and active military personnel in the US.
Survey shows that almost all US veterans and actively serving military personnel who sustained physical injuries during and after the 9/11 attack are suffering from mental health problems. According to PTSD military statistics, the disorder afflicts 82.8% of the US veterans and active men in uniform. This mental illness is topped only by sleep disorder problems which reach 83.6%.
12. Approximately 10% of first responders in the US have PTSD.
It’s the job of first responders to control and manage emergencies caused by disasters, violence, or terroristic acts. Due to the nature of their jobs, first responders become susceptible to mental health illnesses like anxiety and PTSD. According to first responders’ PTSD statistics, about 10% of people in this line of work in the US struggle with PTSD.
13. About two-thirds of people with PTSD believe the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences hampered their recovery.
The environment plays a crucial role in the recovery of people diagnosed with PTSD. It can either promote healing or exacerbate the symptoms.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the country experienced civil and political unrest. This atmosphere aggravated the condition of those with PTSD. In fact, PTSD stats show that 65% of people diagnosed with PTSD said the coronavirus harmed their recuperation.
14. Marine veterans with PTSD struggle with substance use disorder up to 88% of the time.
(American Addiction Centers)
As PTSD is a common mental illness among marine veterans, managing it can be very complex. Affected veterans often find themselves turning to drugs to ease their symptoms. Eventually, they develop addictions and increase their substance intake as their substance tolerance increases.
PTSD marines statistics show that substance use disorder co-occurs in 34% to 88% of people living with PTSD.
15. Data shows that PTSD is more prevalent among adults aged 30 to 44.
While PTSD happens to people across different ages, it’s more prevalent in some age groups than others. According to PTSD age statistics, adults aged 30 to 44 years have the highest prevalence, with approximately 5% of the group’s population struggling with the disorder. Younger adults aged 18 to 29 follow suit with a 4% prevalence rate.
16. Four out of five homeless veterans struggle with PTSD and other mental health problems.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are approximately 40,000 homeless veterans nationwide. About 80% of these homeless veterans are living with PTSD, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses.
The lack of treatment for these conditions and the absence of corporate skills training put veterans at a disadvantage. Finding jobs and houses to live in becomes extremely difficult for them.
17. About 57% of first responders are hesitant to seek treatment for their PTSD.
Because of the nature of the job, first responders are more susceptible to developing mental health problems like PTSD and depression. Researchers studying depression and PTSD in first responders and its statistics report that people in this line of work are five times more likely to develop PTSD and depression.
Despite this increased likelihood, statistics also show that first responders are unlikely to seek out professional help. Even though the majority believe medical treatment works, 57% think seeking help might impact them negatively. And, as much as 40% are afraid they might get fired or demoted.
18. Two out of five veterans who went to the Iraq or Afghanistan war have PTSD.
Several studies have shown PTSD and depression are prevalent mental health illnesses in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Statistics show that about 40% of them are diagnosed with PTSD and that 18% have exhibited some severe symptoms but didn’t show enough symptoms to be diagnosed.
Equally disturbing is that these veterans have displayed aggressive behavior in the past, which makes PTSD management and treatment essential.
PTSD Statistics Worldwide
19. Approximately 4% of the global population has PTSD.
Research suggests that 23% of lost years to disability are attributable to substance use and mental health problems like PTSD. What’s even more troubling is that PTSD statistics worldwide reported in a 2020 paper place the prevalence rate of the disorder at 4%. Moreover, about half of these PTSD cases persist for more than a year, which impedes productivity.
20. Research suggests that PTSD accounts for 1.6% of suicides in the general Swedish population.
Though many researchers believe that people with PTSD have a higher propensity to commit suicide, most are still uncertain how much the disorder increases the risk of suicide in an individual.
One study on the correlation between suicide and PTSD in the general Swedish population yielded enlightening PTSD suicide statistics. If there is a causal relationship between suicide and PTSD, the disorder accounts for 1.6% of suicides in the general population. Further, 53.7% of suicide deaths among Swedish people are attributable to the PTSD condition.
The study also reveals that suicide rates in men and women with PTSD are 3.96 and 6.74 times higher than the rates in the general population.
21. Close to 27% of coronavirus survivors in China showed symptoms of PTSD.
Most studies on PTSD only consider war, sexual abuse, assault, and accident as probable triggers of PTSD. However, PTSD statistics published in 2021 show emerging prevalence rates of PTSD among the elderly, possibly caused by the fear of coronavirus.
Researchers of PTSD among the elderly in Spain report a 6.81% prevalence rate of the disorder. Meanwhile, France declared a 9.9% occurrence of PTSD in its older population, which has overcome the disease. In China, researchers report an astounding 26.9% of older adults who survived coronavirus exhibiting PTSD symptoms.
22. According to PTSD statistics in Australia, more than one in ten people residing in Australia will experience PTSD.
People living in Australia have a common misconception that PTSD happens only to soldiers or “weak” personalities. In reality, PTSD is a prevalent mental illness that people can’t correct just by sheer willpower. It can also afflict anyone who experienced or witnessed traumatic events and can take years to develop.
Because of these myths, it might be surprising that approximately 12% of people in Australia will go through PTSD at some point in their lives.
23. PTSD statistics in Canada show that about 9.2% of Canadians will have PTSD.
According to researchers, the most usual triggers of PTSD in Canada include sexual assault, unexpected death of a loved one, and seeing someone killed or injured. Despite Canada’s low violent crime rates and rare cases of natural disasters, PTSD is still prevalent in the country. In fact, data shows a prevalence rate of 9.2% for lifetime PTSD in Canada.
24. The UK’s Royal Marines have the highest rate of PTSD.
According to the PTSD statistics for UK service personnel published in 2020, the disorder is prevalent in all armed forces. However, the Royal Marines have the highest rate, with 2.6 cases per 1,000 personnel. Meanwhile, the Royal Air Force has the lowest rate of PTSD prevalence, with only 0.9 per 1,000 service personnel.
It’s evident from the stats on PTSD presented in this article that the illness is a widespread mental condition that afflicts not just military veterans.
Adults and children subjected to traumatic events like rape and physical assault can also develop this disorder. Since sexual abuse is rampant and women are most likely victims, they’re also twice more likely to develop this disorder.
Despite its prevalence, there’s still so much that medical practitioners don’t understand about PTSD. But, one thing is clear—it affects people’s behavior, productivity, and relational connections. That’s why researchers and clinicians work hard to identify all possible factors that trigger the disease and the ways to manage and treat PTSD effectively.
What percentage of soldiers have PTSD?
While PTSD has a higher prevalence among soldiers than the general population, the percentage of soldiers and veterans afflicted with the disorder varies depending on the war or conflict.
For instance, data suggests that 11% to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD. In contrast, 15% of those who served in the Vietnam war experienced PTSD. And the Gulf war resulted in 12% of its veterans going through PTSD.
Who gets PTSD the most?
Apart from military veterans and first responders who experience and witness violence and death because of the nature of their jobs, women are twice more likely to develop PTSD than men. It is so because they are more likely to become victims of violence, accidents, and sexual assaults as the most common causative triggers of the disorder.
What percent of the population has PTSD?
According to statistics, approximately 4% of the global population suffers from PTSD. While some people experience fading symptoms after a couple of months, about 50% have symptoms that persist for more than a year.
In the US, about 7% to 8% of the population will develop the condition at some point in their lives. And approximately 8 million US adults have PTSD in any given year.
Is PTSD increasing or decreasing?
Based on statistics, the number of PTSD cases has increased in the past decade. Most of the cases are veterans who witnessed violence while in combat or who experienced military sexual trauma.
Researchers expect the numbers to increase in the next couple of months or years because of the trauma many people have experienced from the coronavirus pandemics.
How many veterans have PTSD in 2022?
While it’s difficult to determine how many veterans have PTSD in a given year, the US Department of Veterans Affairs provides us with estimates on the percentage of veterans who have PTSD.
Based on previous data, the department estimates that 11% to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 15% of Vietnam War veterans, and 12% of Gulf War veterans are afflicted with the disorder.
What causes veterans to have PTSD?
PTSD in veterans results from several risk factors such as age at the time of trauma, socioeconomic status, deployment rates, prior psychological issues, sexual assault within the military, childhood abuse, and the absence of strong social support. However, based on PTSD statistics, the condition is most strongly associated with many physiological and psychological health problems caused by traumatic brain injury during combat.