It should come as no surprise that men and women, while similar in numerous ways, are also very different. When it comes to posttraumatic stress disorder (more commonly referred to as PTSD), both men and women can be affected; however this disorder can impact men and women in very different ways.

PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing one or more traumatic events. Most commonly, these traumatic events can include natural disaster, combat exposure, sexual/physical assault, a life-threatening event, and divorce, to name a few. Regardless of gender, receiving treatment for PTSD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), can be extremely beneficial in order to learn how to cope with the feelings that PTSD produces and strive to overcome the many obstacles that this disorder can supply.

While PTSD is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the country, it is an extremely complex condition cannot be considered “textbook” for individuals who are affected. Rather, each person is likely to have a unique experience with this condition, which can be impacted by several personal factors, including gender.

How Does PTSD Affect Men?

Studies show that men are more likely to experience a traumatic event. However, this does not mean that they are more likely to develop PTSD. In fact, according to research, women are more likely to develop PTSD than men despite this statistic.

Although men are not developing PTSD at higher rates than women do, this does not mean that they are not experiencing the symptoms of this disorder. There is a vast difference between the symptoms that men will display when PTSD is present and the symptoms that women will display. Men who are afflicted with PTSD are likely to present with the following symptoms:

  • Inability to control anger and other powerful emotions
  • Increased risk of feeling angry
  • More prone to abuse drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism

Many men who have PTSD have developed it in response to serving in combat. As a result, other symptoms may accompany those listed above, including hyperarousal, reliving the traumatic event(s), and being triggered by things that remind them of the event(s).

How Does PTSD Affect Women?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that five out of ten women suffer a traumatic event. Women are also more likely to experience specific traumas than men are, including sexual assault. In addition, women tend to struggle with other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety that can make them more vulnerable to developing PTSD after one or more traumatic events occurs.

Like anyone else who has PTSD, each woman is going to experience her own set of symptoms specific to his or her disorder. However, most women tend to display symptoms that are vastly different than those of men, and they can include the following:

  • Having trouble feeling emotions
  • Feeling jumpy
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma

One of the most common causes of PTSD in women is sexual assault, as one in three women will experience sexual assault as some point in their lives. Additionally, women are more likely to experience neglect and abuse in childhood.

Should Treatment be the Same for Men and Women?

At this juncture in the road when it comes to PTSD and the two sexes, there is simply not enough research to determine if specialized, gender-specific treatment is effective for PTSD. However, it is believed that if an individual obtains treatment for PTSD but does not get treated for other symptoms of that PTSD that could be specific to gender, he or she would not obtain the most effective treatment.

Therefore, with more research, it could be better determined if PTSD treatments that are gender-specific would be the most beneficial for women and men.

Author's Bio: 

At The Refuge, A Healing Place, located in Ocklawaha, Florida, both women and men who are grappling with PTSD can receive treatment for PTSD in a setting that supports a full recovery. Here, our team of dedicated professionals work endlessly to ensure that all aspects of PTSD are properly treated so that a long-term recovery can be achievable.

If you or a loved ones needs treatment for PTSD, please do not let any more time go by. Reach out and call us today. We can help.