Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Doctors do not know why traumatic events cause PTSD in some people but not in others. Your genes, emotions, and family setting may all play roles. Past emotional trauma may increase your risk of PTSD after a recent traumatic event.

With PTSD the body's response to a stressful event is changed. Normally, after the event the body recovers. The stress hormones and chemicals the body releases due to the stress go back to normal levels. For some reason in a person with PTSD the body keeps releasing the stress hormones and chemicals. PTSD can occur at any age. It can occur after events such as:

  • Assault
  • Car accidents
  • Domestic abuse
  • Natural disasters
  • Prison stay
  • Rape
  • Terrorism
  • War