How much do you know about PTSD?

HEALTH

Isadora Teich

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about PTSD, but it is actually more common than you might think. See how much you know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with this HowStuffWorks quiz.

What does PTSD stand for?

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disorder can affect people in a variety of ways.

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What triggers PTSD?

It is not uncommon for people who have been through life-threatening or traumatic events to suffer PTSD. PTSD is a direct result of a person struggling to cope with distressing events due to emotional and/or physical trauma.

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Something that causes a person to relive a traumatic event is called a _______.

Often people with PTSD can be triggered by things which remind them of the event. For example, a person who has been in a bad car accident might avoid watching movies involving car crashes, as being exposed to those triggers will force them to relive the traumatic event.

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How do people with PTSD often feel about themselves?

Many people with PTSD develop low self-esteem and can even become suicidal. Studies have shown that those with PTSD are at a higher risk for suicide.

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Many children with PTSD have:

Children lack the understanding adults do, and may not even have the words to describe what happened to them or know how to make any kind of ongoing abuse or neglect stop. This can heavily impact their growing brains, leading to PTSD and all sorts of behavioral issues.

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Is it true that only military veterans experience PTSD?

This prevalent myth is actually dangerous because it prevents many people from getting the help they need. About a third of people who have experienced a traumatic event, whether in battle or not, will experience PTSD over the course of their lives.

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Does everyone with PTSD experience the same symptoms?

There are numerous behaviors and symptoms that can be PTSD-related. No two people are the same and can even have vastly different experiences of the same trauma.

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Everyone reacts to trauma_________.

When talking about PTSD, it is important to remember that it will be different for everyone. Some people who experience a traumatic event don't even develop PTSD at all.

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PTSD always occurs right after a traumatic event.

While symptoms of PTSD often start soon after a traumatic event, this is not the case for everyone. Some people might develop it months or even years later.

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Many people with PTSD make a lot of effort to avoid _________.

In some cases, people with PTSD go to such lengths to avoid things that trigger them that it can negatively impact their lives. They may avoid crowds or relationships. Some will do anything at all to avoid thinking about what happened to them, which causes things to get worse and worse as they don't seek the help they need.

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Some people with untreated PTSD use what to cope?

People with untreated PTSD sometimes become addicts. They drink and use drugs to lessen their flashbacks, panic attacks, physical pain and other symptoms which negatively impact their lives.

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Someone with the PTSD symptom where they relive the traumatic event, again and again, may have:

People experiencing this type of PTSD may have recurring nightmares about the event. They can also be triggered by things that remind them of the event and randomly relive it in terrifying episodes for years.

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What separates a normal stress reaction from PTSD?

It is natural for someone to be shaken and need time to recover after a traumatic event. However, if that event is still negatively affecting and controlling your life months or years after it happened, you may have PTSD.

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The way PTSD changes your brain can lead to:

PTSD changes your brain on a structural level. Researchers think this can raise your risk for depression and other mental illnesses.

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Which of these is used to treat PTSD?

Everyone's brain, personality, trauma and PTSD is different. There are a variety of tactics used to help sufferers manage their PTSD symptoms so they can live their lives more happily.

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PTSD physically changes your _________.

The brains of those with PTSD look very different from those who do not. The very structure of their brain changes, with certain parts, such as the hippocampus, which regulates memory, appearing visibly smaller and being unable to work as well.

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Can people with PTSD experience seemingly unrelated physical symptoms?

Mental illness can often put your body under stress, leading to all sorts of health problems. It weakens your immune system and can lead to chronic pain, headaches and stomach issues in some people.

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What kind of disorder is PTSD considered?

PTSD is a kind of anxiety disorder that develops after a person experiences a traumatic event. It can often occur with a number of other mood disorders or mental health issues.

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Which of these traumatic events are commonly known to cause PTSD.

Everything from long term abuse to a car accident can cause PTSD. PTSD develops in about 1/3 of people who experience a traumatic event.

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Can babies and toddlers have PTSD?

While many people think that babies and toddlers are wholly unaware of the world, this is not the case at all. Their young growing brains can also be affected by PTSD. They often show it through nightmares, separation anxiety, fear of things and places that remind them of their trauma, and may even re-enact their trauma repeatedly with dolls or other toys for years.

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Is PTSD treatable?

There are numerous triggers, treatments and experiences for people with PTSD. It can even take decades to manage it, depending on a number of factors. However, about 60 percent of people diagnosed with it completely recover and only 5 percent never recover at all.

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Many people suffering from PTSD struggle with having:

Many people with PTSD have changes in their thoughts or beliefs. They think that people are dangerous and untrustworthy and tend to isolate themselves in an attempt to feel safe.

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Many people with PTSD don't seek help because they feel:

Many PTSD sufferers feel shame and guilt about the traumatic event itself and believe they deserve to be punished for it. Men are particularly unlikely to seek help, because many see their PTSD symptoms as weaknesses or failures, rather than a mental disorder which they need and deserve support for.

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Which of these events is most likely to cause PTSD?

It is hard to get completely accurate statistics because many men and women choose not to report that they have been sexually assaulted. However, 1/3 of all reported sexual assault victims develop PTSD over the course of their lives, and over 90 percent experience symptoms of it immediately after the traumatic event.

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What unhealthy steps do many PTSD sufferers take in order to feel safe?

While coping with their symptoms, which can include numerous things ranging from random flashbacks to horrible physical pain, many PTSD sufferers go to great lengths to handle the situation on their own. These can often be damaging.

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Which myth prevents many people with PTSD from getting the help they need?

Mental illness is stigmatized across the board, and PTSD is no different. Many people believe that PTSD is some kind of character failing when in reality it is a treatable condition.

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Which war is best known for causing PTSD in soldiers?

The Vietnam war is known for causing horrible PTSD in soldiers, and according to studies, this is actually statistically true. 30 percent of Vietnam War vets have experienced PTSD over their lives, while this number is much lower for vets of either the Iraq or the Gulf wars.

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What makes PTSD so hard to diagnose?

Many people are walking around with PTSD and don't even know it. Sometimes symptoms can appear years after a traumatic event, making it almost impossible to know what's wrong.

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What is the youngest age that effective treatment for PTSD can start?

Treatment for PTSD has been proven effective on kids as young as 3. It is very difficult before a child can talk.

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Many people with PTSD are constantly on edge and looking for threats. What is this called?

Many people with PTSD are always braced for danger and constantly under stress, even in totally harmless situations. They have trouble concentrating, sleeping, are easily startled and may often seem paranoid.

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Other mental health illnesses and disorders, like _________, often coincide with PTSD.

Panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation and anxiety are common in people with PTSD. While people who are already mentally ill are more likely to develop PTSD, PTSD can also be a partial cause of these disorders. In order for a person to be successfully treated, all of the things they are experiencing must be addressed.

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Other than combat, what trauma experienced while serving is known to cause PTSD in veterans?

23 percent of 100 women who have served in the military reported being sexually assaulted while serving. However, half of all veteran sexual assault victims are men.

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Statistically, who is more likely to suffer from PTSD?

While PTSD is largely recognized as something which only affects soldiers, it's actually far more common across the board in both civilian and non-civilian women. 10 percent of women will experience PTSD over the course of their lives, while only 4 percent of men will.

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What percentage of the population will experience PTSD at some point during their lives?

About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD over the course of their lives. About 8 million adults are coping with PTSD during any given year.

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Why are many people with PTSD unable to talk about what happened to them?

Some people with PTSD may block out portions of traumatic events, or the event which caused their PTSD entirely. It is not uncommon for victims of childhood sexual abuse to forget how they felt at the time or what happened to them entirely for years.

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