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What causes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

The trigger for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a traumatic event experienced by the person. About 10-25% of people who suffer traumatizing events go on to develop PTSD. Events that can cause PTSD can include: rape and sexual abuse; wartime and combat experiences (for both soldiers and civilians); natural disasters; violent assault, terrorist attacks, hostage situations, domestic violence; accidents (car accidents, plane crashes, industrial accidents); imprisonment and torture, experiences in detention camps or concentration camps; severe neglect in childhood, and; the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one. In some cases, a person can develop PTSD despite not having experienced it directly, but through learning of a horrific event happening to a close loved one.

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About this article

Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 21 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 445 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Post-traumatic stress disorder


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