Trauma is common in women; five out of ten girls experience a traumatic event. Girls have a tendency to experience injuries that are different than men.
Most early info on PTSD and trauma came from studies of male Veterans, mostly Vietnam Veterans. Researchers began to study the effects of sexual assault and found that women's reactions were similar to male fight Veterans. Women's experiences of injury can also cause PTSD. This finding led to more research on women's exposure to trauma and PTSD.
Risk of experiencing injury
Findings from a large national mental health study show that a little more than half of all women will experience at least one traumatic event the child effect in their life. Women are slightly less likely to experience injury than guys. The most common injury for women is sexual assault or child sexual abuse. About one in three girls will experience a sexual assault within their life. Speeds of sexual assault are higher for girls than guys. Women are also more likely to experience domestic violence or abused in youth, to be neglected, or to have a loved one unexpectedly die.
What happens after injury
After an injury, some women develop PTSD, start drinking or using medications, or might feel depressed. There are a couple of reasons women might get PTSD more than men:
Girls are more than likely to experience sexual assault.
Sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD than a number of other occasions.
Women might be more likely to blame themselves for injury experiences than men.
Why are some women at higher risk for PTSD?
Not all girls who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. Girls are more than likely to develop PTSD if they:
Have a previous mental health issue (for example depression or stress)
Experienced a very serious or life threatening injury
Were sexually assaulted
Were injured during the event
Had a severe reaction at the period of the occasion
Experienced other stressful events after
Don't have great social support
What PTSD is like for girls
Some PTSD symptoms are somewhat more prevalent in girls than guys. Girls are more likely to have more trouble feeling emotions to be jumpy, and to avoid things that remind them of the injury than guys. Men are more prone to have trouble controlling their anger then women and to feel angry. Girls with PTSD are more prone to feel apprehensive and depressed, while men with PTSD are prone to have problems with drugs or alcohol.
There are excellent treatments for PTSD. Nevertheless, not everyone who experiences a trauma seeks treatment. Girls may be more likely than men to find help after a distressing event. A minumum of one study found that women react to treatment as well as or better than guys. This may be because women are generally more comfortable sharing feelings and talking about private matters with others than men.
Women in the military
A growing number of women are now being exposed to combat, although men are somewhat more likely to experience battle. Future studies are needed to better understand the effects of women's exposure to sexual assault and both fight.