- An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
- An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
- Approximately 8 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
- An estimated 1 out of 10 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
- PTSD may develop following exposure to extreme trauma.
- Extreme trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that a person has experienced, witnessed, or learned about, especially one that is life-threatening or causes physical harm.
- The experience causes that person to feel intense fear, horror, or a sense of helplessness.
- The stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
- Research suggests that prolonged trauma may disrupt and alter brain chemistry. For some people, this may lead to the development of PTSD.