|By Safe Call Now®'s Dr. Laura Brodie|
National statistics report that six out of every ten males and five out of every ten females will experience a serious, traumatic event in their lives. Although the trauma may be painful to experience, not every person who goes through a trauma will develop PTSD. Statistics also say that only 7-8% of these people will develop PTSD. That is a relatively low number in the general population. The exact statistics of how many first responders develop PTSD is not known but to compare, it is estimated that 30% of Vietnam veterans developed the disorder. It certainly does occur and is painful and devastating when it does occur but there is also a phenomena that occurs where people simply assume that since the individual has been through a trauma, then they have PTSD.
Working in the mental health field and teaching doctoral students I see this a lot. Because there is a trauma, the therapist simply assumes that all of the problems the individual is having are due to that trauma and they slap the diagnosis of PTSD onto the person. This is wrong and harmful. None of an individual’s psychological issues are caused by one defining moment. Individuals are much more nuanced and multifaceted to have every problem come from one source. It may make the individual feel better initially to believe that if they simply solve the one problem they will be “fixed” but it is a naïve belief and they are soon letdown when not everything is fixed.