Women Have a Much Greater Risk of Developing PTSD

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When you hear post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) mentioned in the mainstream media, it is almost always accompanied with images of male war veterans, but a recent study indicates women are far more likely to experience the condition in their lifetimes.

According to the prospective study, women have a notably greater risk of developing PTSD than their male counterparts, regardless of the severity of the traumatic event.

“Cross-sectional data have shown that women are at least twice as likely as men to suffer from stress-induced disorders, one of which is PTSD,” lead researcher Vasiliki Michopoulos, PhD, from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, told Medscape Medical News.

“Now, we are seeing in a prospective manner that women are considerably more at risk than men, and this is giving us an opportunity to collect additional data to assess what factors, in addition to gender, might contribute to their vulnerability,” Dr. Michopoulos said.

The study was presented during the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Conference 2015.

For the study, a team of researchers recruited 103 women who presented to a level-1 trauma center within hours of experiencing an event that met DSM criterion A for PSTD. The study excluded women with a history of psychosis or suicidal risk, those who had attempted suicide in the past 3 months, and those who were intoxicated at the time of the event.

All women were assessed in an emergency department before being reassessed 1 and 3 months after the traumatic event, using the PTSD Symptom Scale. These results were then compared with results from male participants.

At both re-assessment points, women were significantly more likely to receive a diagnosis of PTSD compared to males. At 1 month, they were nearly 10 times more likely to receive a diagnosis of PTSD. The risk dropped at three months post-traumatic event, but females still exhibited nearly 5 times the risk of being diagnosed with PTSD.

The researchers also noted PTSD symptoms were much more common in women than in men at both points following a traumatic event.

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