NAD Blog

Signs of PTSD in Women

person discussing signs of ptsd in women with counselor

For people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), life can be rough to navigate, even during everyday situations. Women with PTSD have unique experiences and symptoms compared to men with PTSD, and they need unique aid healing from trauma. That’s why it’s essential to find a PTSD treatment program that offers personalized help and counseling.

What is PTSD and Who is at Risk?

After people experience a traumatic event, like natural disaster, war, or assault, the event may continue to affect them. They could have constant flashbacks or memories they can’t avoid. PTSD is diagnosed by mental health professionals when someone experiences upsetting symptoms for more than a month after the traumatic event, and when their symptoms get in the way of daily life.

Women who survive trauma are at higher risk for developing PTSD if they:

  • Were directly exposed, harmed, or injured during the event
  • Have another mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder
  • Lack a strong support system
  • Were the victim of sexual assault or rape
  • Experienced childhood trauma
  • Are heavy drinkers

How Women Experience PTSD Differently From Men

Women are more than twice as likely as men to suffer from PTSD in their lifetime; about one in 10 women will develop PTSD. The signs of PTSD in women also tend to last longer.

While everyone experiences trauma differently, health care professionals have observed some general differences in the way women and men respond to trauma.

Compared to men, women are more likely to:

  • Experience PTSD-related depression and anxiety
  • Blame themselves for the trauma
  • Be survivors of rape or sexual assault
  • Avoid situations and experiences that remind them of trauma

Despite their higher risk for PTSD, women frequently wait longer than men do to pursue treatment for the disorder. Many women may not even realize they have PTSD. On average, women wait about four years between the first onset of symptoms and the first time they seek treatment.

What are Some Signs of PTSD in Women?

PTSD has many symptoms that can affect people regardless of gender identity. These symptoms, however, are far more common in women.

Avoidance, or intentionally staying away from anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This includes emotional avoidance, or avoiding thoughts and feelings surrounding the experience. Emotional avoidance can be a major roadblock to healing from trauma.

Re-experiencing symptoms, or having repeated memories, flashbacks, and nightmares that cause them to relive the trauma over and over. People who re-experience symptoms often respond as if they’re actually under threat, even if they aren’t.

Hyperarousal and reactivity, which means the survivor is frequently anxious and in a state of heightened alert. A woman with hyperarousal symptoms may be easily startled, become irritable or tense quickly, or have difficulty sleeping and concentrating.

Cognition and mood symptoms, which can range from guilt and self-blame to general feelings of alienation or negativity.

Emotional numbness, or shutting down any painful thoughts and feelings. A woman experiencing emotional numbness may feel disconnected from other people, lose interest in pleasurable activities, or isolate herself.

Healing from Trauma Starts at Springfield Wellness Center

PTSD symptoms can be overwhelming for both men and women. Our compassionate, state-of-the-art treatment at Springfield Wellness Center addresses both PTSD and other mental health conditions. Therapy is tailored to the unique needs of PTSD survivors, and our counselors are trained to address your anxieties and concerns.

If medication is part of your treatment plan, our medical staff will work with you to find the treatment that helps you survive and thrive. We also provide safe, medically monitored spaces to detox from substance abuse.

Your trauma doesn’t have to define your life. To begin healing for yourself or a loved one, contact us at 844.334.4727 or online.