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While most often associated with experiencing wartime trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur following exposure to any traumatic event. PTSD can develop in response to natural disasters, accidents or violent experiences. PTSD facts indicate that a majority of adults experience at least one traumatic event during their life, but most do not go on to develop PTSD. According to PTSD statistics, a relatively small percentage of those who experience trauma develop PTSD. However, PTSD facts and statistics indicate that the disorder is more common than many people estimate.

PTSD in Veterans

Statistics on PTSD in veterans from many past wars are not available because the condition wasn’t officially recognized until the 1980s. Before being recognized as an official medical diagnosis, PTSD was referred to as “shell shock.” However, anecdotal reports of shell shock indicate that PTSD occurred in war veterans in the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

Most of the veteran PTSD data currently available are from recent wars, including Iraq and Afghanistan. PTSD statistics for the military signify that an estimated 20 percent of combat veterans from these wars developed PTSD. However, PTSD in soldiers does not occur exclusively as a result of combat. While only 17 percent of combat troops are women, 71 percent of female military members develop PTSD due to sexual assault experienced within the ranks.

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