PTSD Among American Men

Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event, one that the majority (60%) of American men experience in the course of their lifetime. Those who experience trauma may exhibit signs of shock, denial, followed closely by feelings of intense fear, anger, and stress. It is common to have a stress reaction after experiencing a trauma, and these feelings usually gradually lessen with time. For the 4% of men whose stress reaction develops into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and continues to interfere with their everyday lives, weeks, months, and even years after the incident, it’s important to reach out for help.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, individuals should seek help if the following symptoms last longer than three months, cause great distress, or interfere with your everyday life:

  1. Reliving the event

    Having nightmares
    Feeling like you are experiencing the event again (having a flashback)
    Triggered by a smell, sound, or sight

  2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event

    Avoiding crowds because you associate them with danger
    Avoid driving if you were in an accident
    Trying to keep busy to avoid thinking about the event

  3. Experiencing negative changes in beliefs and feelings

    May avoid feeling close with family or loved ones
    May forget about parts of the trauma or may be unable to talk about it
    May become fearful of the world or people as a whole

  4. Hyperarousal

    Feeling jittery or on alert for danger at all times
    Becoming suddenly angry or irritable
    May have difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    May be started by a loud noise

There you’ll receive information about local treatment resources. There are a number of commonly used treatments available for individuals with PTSD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy are used to help those living with PTSD change how they think about the traumatic event and its aftermath and develop new responses to reminders of these fear-inducing situations. Researchers have begun to explore potential gender differences in the process of fear learning in hopes of developing more tailored gender-based therapeutic treatments.

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