11 Events That May Trigger PTSD

While many use post-traumatic stress disorder as a punch line to describe a bad experience, PTSD is no joke. Up to eight out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. What’s so tricky about this neurological disorder is that it varies in severity and reciprocity. Therefore, you may not even be aware if a loved one or yourself has PTSD.

The best way to figure it out is to take a look at some of the life events surrounding the person in question. There are several common situations that may cause someone to develop a case of PTSD.

Events That May Trigger PTSD

Symptoms and causes of post-traumatic stress disorder are unique for each person. It all depends on how the person interprets the situation. For instance, someone who witnesses a murder firsthand may have a severe case of PTSD. This disorder will manifest in violent flashbacks, sweaty night terrors, and bouts of anxiety.

However, there are millions of police officers who go to work every day and witness the same events without experiencing any of these symptoms. Sure, there are also millions of police who have PTSD. Therefore, the same functions can impact millions of people individually.

Typically, a person with PTSD will exhibit symptoms within three months of the tragic event. So, if you notice changes in yourself or a loved one, try to think back to when the life-altering situation occurred. That way, you can pinpoint the root cause of these unfavorable symptoms and work with a professional on eradicating them. Here are 11 common events that may cause PTSD.

1. Death of a Loved One

Perhaps nothing can alter our course in life more than the loss of a loved one. This sentiment is especially true if the loss was perceived as sudden or violent. For many of us, those we surround ourselves with are a reflection of our best selves. When we lose a child, parent, or best friend, a piece of us goes along with them.

A lot of people have a hard time coping without having their loved ones present in their everyday lives anymore. Remaining unable to process death in a healthy way can easily translate into a case of PTSD.

One analysis found that 30.6% of PTSD cases stem from the untimely death of a loved one. Furthermore, the closer the person was to your inner circle, the more likely you are to develop this neurological condition. Those who lose their spouse have a 9.6% greater chance of getting PTSD.

2. Surviving a Mass Shooting

It seems like you can’t turn the television on today without seeing reports of a mass shooting. This sick cycle is enough to trigger the smallest case of PTSD for a casual news viewer. Paranoia, avoidance, and anxiety are all symptoms of PTSD. Who doesn’t feel extra tense entering a mall, movie theater, or nightclub these days?

While news consumers can suffer from a bit of PTSD by just witnessing all the horrific photos and videos on the television, it pales in comparison to those who have actually survived. Multiple triggers can happen when someone survives a mass shooting.

For one, they are still trying to compartmentalize the incessant fear they felt while in that situation. Being in the presence of a mass shooting is undoubtedly a near-death experience, even if you remained hidden the whole time. The fear of letting out a loud breath and catching the shooter’s attention is a memory that will plague someone forever.

Then there’s the flashbacks and nightmares from the day’s events. Someone who survived a mass shooting was not only scared for their own life, but they were fearful of those around them as well. These survivors saw innocent people dying a brutal death firsthand.

Lastly, many mass shooting survivors have what’s known as “survivor’s guilt.” Survivor’s guilt manifests in incessant thoughts that vary from “why not me?” to “why them?” Never getting an answer is enough to drive a person to harm themselves. That’s why analysts believe there is a strong correlation between survivor’s guilt and suicide.

3. Victim of Stalking

While we tend to share a lot of our thoughts and pictures on social media, the typical human believes that they value their privacy. That’s why stalking is one of the most invasive scenarios a person can go through.

When you are being stalked, a lot of embarrassing, personal, and life-altering information may be exposed. In these moments, a person you didn’t intend to share these deep secrets with may now know more about you than your own loved ones. This type of distrust may rewire your brain to be paranoid about any new acquaintance in your life.

Furthermore, victims of stalking may cut themselves off from the outside world. They live in fear of being invaded once again. Living in isolation can further exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD and trigger more mental health issues.

4. Military Service

Perhaps no other life event is more synonymous with PTSD than those who have seen combat. If you find yourself on the front lines, there are a couple of factors at play that may cause this neurological disorder. For one, you are scared for your life. That is why so many people who have returned from war get skittish by the sound of fireworks. That pop brings them back in time to a moment where they didn’t know if they’d see their loved ones again.

Naturally, saving our own lives brings out a primal instinct in humans that makes a person see themselves in another light. When you’re fighting for your life, you might end up taking someone else’s. Being responsible for the death of another human, even if it was for the betterment of our country, is unimaginable for many of us.

Many military men and women who were forced to kill during war say they no longer felt human. Instead, they felt more like a machine. It was like the gun in their hand defined them more than the flesh on their bones. That loss of self can open a deep, dark pit for some veterans.

Lastly, those who serve also watch the backs of their fellow troop members. Unfortunately, some of their brothers and sisters don’t always make it. That can trigger a severe case of survivor’s guilt. Survivor’s guilt is further exasperated when a service person witnesses their comrade die. In those moments, the soldier may feel inadequate, as if they let that person, their family, and the entire country down.

5. Rape or Sexual Assault

In today’s #MeToo world, we’re finally starting to see the mainstream media acknowledge the long-term repercussions of rape and sexual assault. For decades, women and men have dealt with self-perception issues, employment or wage loss, and blackmail in the wake of sexual assault. So, not only do the victims have to deal with the physical and mental toll the act of sexual abuse can cause, but the societal, monetary, and emotional fallouts as well. That’s a heavy crown to wear for anyone who has been victimized.

One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their life. Survivors of rape are all to aware of that statistic and can become constantly on high alert to ensure it will never happen again. In turn, these survivors can miss out on living in the moment. Long-term, surviving rape can do a number on relationships, career, and self-esteem.

6. Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are a common cause of PTSD because they make us feel so helpless. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature and have to hope for the best. Some of these situations can be deadly for some and cause near-death experiences for others, especially when it comes to events like the earthquakes in California or tornados in Oklahoma. While a shooting or rape can still make you feel powerless, those instances are human against human. When humans goes against nature, the odds seem even bleaker.

The reason natural disasters cause PTSD is that you never know when they’ll strike. Therefore, it can cause many people to reconsider so many aspects that make their life theirs–including where they live.

Furthermore, natural disasters pose more than just a physical risk. You can lose everything in a flash flood, from personal possessions to your home or even your family pet or a loved one. Having to start from scratch can add a ton of pressure for a person. Therefore, every rainfall, heavy wind, or the rumbling of a jackhammer can trigger bouts of PTSD.

7. Getting a Life-Altering Diagnosis

We go through life in the blink of an eye. For some, that blink is much quicker than others. One of the scariest parts about life is that you have no control over when it comes to an end. All you can do is take optimal care of yourself and live each day to the fullest. Even the healthiest of people can have an abnormal growth, a rare illness, or get into a terrible car accident that changes their everyday functioning.

When you get a life-altering diagnosis, it can cause problems associated with PTSD. For instance, an unfavorable diagnosis may add stress and anxiety to any future doctor’s trips. Whether you’re on the mend or still battling your illness, you might equate a trip to the doctor as a sentence on death row. Each trip, you anticipate the worst, which can exacerbate your symptoms of PTSD leading up to the visit.

8. Childhood Abuse or Neglect

Childhood is such an influential part of our lives. Our brains are still very pliable. It’s during these formative years that we figure out how to react to situations. Therefore, a childhood full of abuse and neglect may make us wary of others. In other cases, it can cause us to be violent with loved ones or to ourselves.

Those who have PTSD stemming from childhood trauma may get upset by somebody raising their voice. Others may have a vivid flashback while watching a boxing match or a violent movie. In cases of childhood sexual abuse, some victims believe that sexual favors are the answer to getting their way.

The interactions we have as a child are our first steps into the adult world. Those are the measuring sticks for how we approach all future communications. That’s why a child who is raised in a house of abuse has an increased chance of creating one themselves as an adult.

9. Infidelity

Perhaps no other event can break a bond between two lovers more than infidelity. When you love someone, you at times lose yourself. You can become so wrapped up in the whirlwind of the romance, that you may miss the signs that your loved one is cheating. Therefore, when the other shoe drops, it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Being cheated on by someone you trusted with your heart is a crushing blow. If the person you believed in more than anyone else can betray you, what’s to stop future people from doing the same? This sort of mindset can become toxic and cause you to withdraw from situations where you might become intimate with someone new. We don’t mean this just on a physical level. Infidelity can also cause you to question your bonds with family and friends as well.

PTSD from infidelity is intensified if you caught your lover in the act. You can experience horrible flashbacks of a scene you just want to forget. In some instances, you may have found out about infidelity through a text message. Future pings on a cell phone may cause horrible bouts of anxiety. All of this links back to the broken trust created by a cheating lover.

10. Vehicular Accidents

When something out of our control impedes our life, it can create a severe case of PTSD. Case in point, vehicular accidents. Whether you survived a plane crash, car or bike accident, or a boat capsizing, these accidents can cause a life-altering change in how you look at transportation.

In these moments, you might tense up when you cross the road or approach an intersection while driving. Perhaps you will never travel out of your state again. Whatever the accident was, it can follow you through the rest of your life and stop you from achieving the goals you long to complete.

11. Confirming Your Worst Fears

As satisfying as an, “I told you so,” may be, it can also be a death knell for your confidence. Being right about something wrong can create a lasting effect on how you look at situations. For instance, if you keep applying for jobs and no one’s biting, it can do a number on your self-esteem. Eventually, you go into the situations defeated. Inevitably, you manifest an unfavorable outcome. Over time, this sort of rejection can cause PTSD.

The same can be said about infertility. When a couple keeps trying to procreate and nothing happens, the next step is usually to look deeper into where the issue may lie. Fearing he might be the problem, a man might get worried when the topic is approached.

These sort of issues can cause performance anxiety, turn him off to the idea of having a child, or even drive him to cheat. Going to a specialist and finding out his fears were right will only further crush his self-perception. In turn, sexual performances may cause bouts of PTSD.

How to Handle PTSD

If you or a loved one is battling PTSD, please seek help. Going through this alone may cause long-term issues. In the worst-case scenario, untreated PTSD may even end in suicide.

Speaking to someone with PTSD will help you find ways to cope with triggers. From there, you can attempt to find other ways to promote calmness throughout the body. For instance, many people with PTSD find relief with full-spectrum hemp oil. Cannabinoids in full-spectrum hemp extract have been shown to bring a calming effect on the body.

Others might find help with Tranquilene. This supplement is fortified with all-natural botanicals that help provide anxiety relief and support focus. Our formula is blended with 5-HTP, the precursor to serotonin. Serotonin works in unison with the GABA in Tranquilene to not only calm a racing mind but also boost overall feelings of joy.

Have you ever suffered from PTSD? How did you cope? Help others such as yourself by sounding off in the comments below!

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