10 Common Causes of PTSD

10 Common Causes of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) gets a lot of press, especially regarding military veterans who return from combat. For example, it’s estimated that 11-20% of veterans who served in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD in a given year.

However, you don’t have to see combat in the military to be vulnerable to PTSD, a potentially debilitating condition that can lead to intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, feelings of guilt, a sense of being on edge at all times, being easily startled, anxiety or depression, problems sleeping, as well as other symptoms.

You may be surprised to discover that PTSD can affect anyone—any ethnicity, nationality, or age—although women are 2-3 times more likely to develop the condition than men. Approximately 3.5% of adults in the U.S. are affected by the condition, and about 7-8 people out of 100 will have PTSD in their lifetime.

What’s even more surprising is that in some cases, you don’t even have to be involved first-hand in a traumatic event. Simply hearing about a traumatic event or repetitive viewing of violent news stories on television can increase the risk of PTSD.

10 Types of Traumatic Events That Can Lead to PTSD

  1. Military combat
  2. Rape or other physical assault
  3. Childhood abuse
  4. Natural disasters
  5. Automobile accidents
  6. Sudden death of a loved one
  7. Seeing someone get seriously hurt or killed
  8. Being held at gunpoint
  9. Terrorist attack
  10. Mass shooting

Not everybody who is exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD. Certain things can make you more vulnerable to the condition, including having little or no social support in the wake of a traumatic event, as well as coping with additional stresses due to injuries, the death of a loved one, or the loss of your home.

What the Media Gets Wrong About PTSD

Most media articles talk about PTSD as a psychological problem, but that isn’t accurate. Although it does cause psychological consequences, PTSD is, in fact, a brain disorder. Brain imaging studies using a technology called SPECT show PTSD is associated with changes in the brain. Without brain imaging, PTSD is often misdiagnosed because symptoms overlap with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury. Research shows that brain scans help differentiate PTSD from TBI to help you get an accurate diagnosis and more effective treatment.

If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic event and is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to seek help. At Amen Clinics, we perform brain scans using a technology called SPECT as part of a complete evaluation to diagnose and treat PTSD with the least toxic, most effective solutions.

Don’t let PTSD steal your life. Call one of our patient care specialists at 888-288-9834 to see how Amen Clinics can help you or schedule a visit online.


  1. The article doesn’t mention that as in my case once diagnosed and treated PTSD symptoms may return if normal stress levels are raised. This did happen to me and I was told that I will always be Post Traumatic. During this last episode of PTSD my life again was turned upside down but only by a series of unfortunate events but still more than anyone person could handle. resulting in the symptoms returning.

    Comment by David Molnar — July 10, 2019 @ 2:26 AM

  2. What do you mean by chidhood abuse?One parent family,divorce,alcholism?Does drug abuse cause PTSD?I have been through them all?

    Comment by Mark Mccullough — July 10, 2019 @ 2:47 AM

  3. my comment is on PTSD my husband to be is in Iraq and the messages he sends home to me are of course wanting to come home until one day he wrote me and told me he had to get out of there I felt helpless and he said he was going to drink some vodka and commit suicide a picture of a pistol in his hand. I of course was beside myself not knowing what to do I tried to open the door for him to talk to me even thought it was on the internet. I finally talked him down after hours of conversation. Since that day I make it a point to talk to him twice a day and during that time he told me how bad it is, There have been men out on patrol killed by the Taliban with surprise ambushes. He knew these men and it saddened him deeply. . He continues to tell me how stressful it is he sleeps only 3 hours a night for fear of an ambush by the Taliban and he does not want to die at their hand. The are fed 2 meals a day, and life as the military goes on. No breaks, no holidays, no loved ones to hug, no phone calls and no pictures. Very disturbing. I feel that the government keeps these men in the war zones to long 18 or more months is just to long. they fear talking to their commanders because of the problems it will cause them. I have been told not to write to my senator, president or the military because of retribution. That puts me in a position of him thinking I am supporting him or backing his plea’s and need to come home. There are things these men can never tell anyone because of the brutality of it all. He was sent there on a peace mission and now he turned his hat around and is a combat soldier. As a nurse I have seen first hand the emotional toll it takes on them. When a man cannot take a shower because of fear, it saddens me and they fight you when you try to help because they are afraid of torture. Solitary confinement is the worst how can they just cut them off from there families??? thank you for your work and god bless you. Help get our men home Pat trauma RN Ret.

    Comment by Patricia Cavalli — July 10, 2019 @ 2:53 AM

  4. I’m wondering if you may consider an additional category for PTSD? My daughter suffers from extreme PTSD relating to many hospitalizations and surgeries. She was born with congenital heart disease and other medical problems. She is now an adult and can’t go to a hospital without major full blown panic attacks. This prevents her from getting the medical treatment she needs to live. The medical community is slow to recognize that the children they have been able to save because of advances in medical treatment are suffering from MAJOR mental health problems. Susan is a pioneer for kids with congenital disease but PTSD prevents her from being able to live a normal life.
    Thank you for listening.

    Comment by Mary Schnaubelt — July 10, 2019 @ 7:02 AM

  5. I have had a brain CT Scan recently. I understand that a SPECT is a much better tool to view one’s brain with; and I humbly ask if even my CT Scan can be a helpful tool for a holistic practitioner to better target my healing? The radiologist’s report said “typical (normal) for my age”; BUT conventional doctors think brain illnesses are as if normal aging to be accepted (NOT)! Also, if of value, who should I bring my Ct Scan to in order to get a truer interpretation from?

    Comment by Michael Gomel — July 10, 2019 @ 7:56 AM

  6. I am a retired radiographer. I copied this from the Mayo Clinic website so hope this gives you some additional info.

    “A single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan lets your doctor analyze the function of some of your internal organs. A SPECT scan is a type of nuclear imaging test, which means it uses a radioactive substance and a special camera to create 3-D pictures.

    While imaging tests such as X-rays can show what the structures inside your body look like, a SPECT scan produces images that show how your organs work. For instance, a SPECT scan can show how blood flows to your heart or what areas of your brain are more active or less active.”

    I don’t think the CT will meet your needs if your concern is about function. Best wishes. I have PTSD and ADD. Some days are white knuckle

    Comment by ELAINE SMITH — July 10, 2019 @ 9:48 AM

  7. My son had PTSD, yes I said HAD. He was treated by Dr Eugene Lipov with an injection and he does not suffer with PTSD any longer. It has been over 4 years since his treatment and he is doing great. Just Google Dr Eugene Lipov. There is lots of information there. He has treated 100’s of Vets with this injection.

    Comment by Nancy Byers — July 10, 2019 @ 11:09 AM

  8. I am sorry for you and your husband and very grateful for his service to this country- there is now an experimental protocol designed by former navy seal for ptsd – SGB PROTOCOL- please look it up- I am hoping it will be mainstream- Blessings

    Comment by Susan — July 10, 2019 @ 2:59 PM

  9. Yes there is also complex ptsd. I had severe panic attacks from the death of my family members when I was younger and after 5 years of failed treatment through western medicine I found out about EMDR, emotion code, and brainspotting. These are very beneficial and help release/process the emotions that cause the panic attacks almost immediately during therapy. Neurofeedback also helps tremendously.

    Comment by Karla Dale — July 10, 2019 @ 7:01 PM

  10. One cause I didn’t see happening in my situation. When I was in my early 40s I was dealing with a PE Blood clot. My first experience with it was actually close to life=threatening. I survived and have managed to experience it two other times. Once when I fell on ice and tore tendons in both knees. The other was when I was in Texas visiting family and ended up with a blood clot from lots of sitting and sleeping. Knowing that you are so close to death makes every day a joy to be alive!

    Comment by Gerald Teigrob — July 10, 2019 @ 7:27 PM

  11. Mary-Not sure if Amen Clinics do EMDR therapy, but they are probably aware it can be a safe and effective method for treating PTSD involving eye movement (and often works after just several sessions). My daughter was facing a C-Section and suffered extreme anxiety due to frequent surgeries as a child. After a few sessions, she went through the c-section with minimal distress which was miraculous.

    Comment by D Hurley — July 11, 2019 @ 4:57 AM

  12. Hello, we do offer EMDR Therapy. Here is a great video explaining the uses of EMDR Therapy for trauma and PTSD: https://youtu.be/YgO43kJKG18. For more information, visit our website: https://amenclinics.com/services/psychotherapy/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 11, 2019 @ 7:12 AM

  13. Neurofeedback is a great treatment. For more information, visit: https://amenclinics.com/services/neurofeedback/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 11, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

  14. Dearest Pat –
    Thank you for sharing your story – opening our eyes a little wider.
    I will be praying to the one who can move mountains!!


    Comment by Debra Sechow — July 11, 2019 @ 12:03 PM

  15. How can I find someone in Arizona to do the injection???

    Comment by Chad — July 19, 2019 @ 11:21 AM

  16. Hello Chad, our brain SPECT imaging studies are conducted at all 8 of our current locations: https://amenclinics.com/locations/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 19, 2019 @ 12:43 PM

  17. May I please have permission to share this?

    Comment by Jill — July 21, 2019 @ 7:58 AM

  18. 1. Being terroristically threatened (someone telling you they are going to kill you and dismember you), 2. domestic violence, 3. kidnapping need to be added to the list..

    Comment by Maureen Mullen — August 9, 2019 @ 5:42 PM

  19. Patricia,
    Please tell me you are meeting with someone familiar with this type of vicarious trauma for your mental health. I can’t imagine how horrible this would be for you. Is it possible to discuss this with someone ( Senator) without details of your husband to be, to explore having him have an exception of serious CPTSD that would at least have him be taken to an army hospital (Germany?) for treatment? It sounds like he is living with such a low level of functioning, and suicide risk is something to be treated and not punished. Excuse me if I sound naive , I know the military is a brutal, punitive and damaging institution. I believe it would be a better choice to not have him in that setting but working to get better. You sound like a very compassionate and caring person who has come up with a brilliant strategy to assist him by internet. I believe you are grounding and helping him to express some of the bottled up pain. Bless you and yes, we need to bring our Soldiers ( women in some of those same settings) home.

    Comment by jan weber — September 1, 2019 @ 6:09 AM

  20. I agree Maureen. I was in an Emotionally abusive marriage for 28 years and now diagnosed with C-PTSD.
    Complex PTSD differs from PTSD in that it comes from chronic – long term – trauma, living in constant fear becomes your way of life so to speak,
    where regular PTSD stems from acute traumas.

    Comment by Robin — November 26, 2019 @ 5:27 PM

  21. Me too Robin…..30 years of it. Emotional, mental, verbal, spiritual, financial abuse. The physical was when he drove erratic, shook his fist in my face, punched a hole in the wall, made threats, etc. When I finally realized he had no desire to change due to the fact he was a NPD, I had to get out and did.

    Thank goodness it is becoming more known and it is recognized. I wonder how all of that affects our brain.

    Comment by Joyce Ann Gillett — November 28, 2019 @ 6:58 AM

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