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Why Might Women Be Somewhat More Likely To Have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Than Men?

589 words - 3 pages

Traumatic stress disorders result from one's inability to cope with psychologically tragic events and their repercussions. These life-threatening events would be traumatic for anyone, but those with PTSD experience prolonged symptoms well after the conclusion of the initial traumatic event. They relive the event in their minds, avoid situations that they associate with the trauma, become emotionally detached ("psychic numbness" or dissociation) and experience hyper-arousal, including an exaggerated startle response and difficulty sleeping.Women suffer from PTSD at a higher rate than men, even combat veterans, with approximately two women meeting the diagnostic criteria for every one man. Because the threat of death or disabling injury creates the trigger for PTSD, it must be that women have a greater likelihood for ...view middle of the document...

Rapists are predators who seek out the powerless. The prosecution of rape cases often calls into question every facet of the victim's private life, with the defense counter-accusing her of promiscuity. Because this process necessitates reliving the experience, it also contributes to PTSD.The world's many armed conflicts over the years have further exacerbated the situation by creating an additional pool of potential victims abroad. Women are generally noncombatants, thus unarmed and often defenseless, depending on their countrymen and the rules of war to protect them from abuse. History has shown that when the former fails, the latter proves ineffective.Other studies show that one in four women is the victim of childhood sexual abuse. The powerlessness of a child to resist an adult's abuse gives rise to the threat of imminent death or great physical harm. Adult women who later relive these experiences often suffer guilt over their inability to have prevented the abuse or somehow limited its duration.The textbook states that women also are the victims in 93% of the reported cases of spousal abuse. The physical and psychological trauma of the abuse contributes to PTSD. The victims feel ashamed to be victims and that shame increases the psychic strain. The betrayal of trust inherent in abuse by her husband creates an additional stressor.Because women are, in general, less physically strong than men they are more likely to be victimized. The real or implied threat of death or great physical harm creates the conditions for both acute and post-traumatic stress disorder. For most of human history, the law has also failed to protect women from exploitation and abuse. Continued victimization after the initial trauma further reinforces the propensity for PTSD. The unfortunate fact that women are more likely to be victimized is the reason that women are more likely to suffer from PTSD following the traumatic event.

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