What Really Causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

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PTSD causes may be confusing for some. Learn the real causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at HealthyPlace.

What Really Causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

There is still confusion about what causes PTSD, and this confusion can make it difficult for people truly experiencing PTSD to be taken seriously. And while it’s good that awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is increasing, it’s important that awareness grows beyond just knowledge of the term.

PTSD is Caused by Real Trauma

In a recent tweet, a Twitter user referred to having PTSD from eating a chicken salad sandwich, biting into a bone, and being unable to rid himself of the thought. It seems that this person doesn’t understand what causes PTSD. Sometimes people know that PTSD is associated with an actual traumatic event but can’t understand why some people develop PTSD while others don’t; then, they wonder if PTSD is real.

Information in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 tells us that PTSD can develop through

  • exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or violence
  • witnessing in person the traumatic event happening to others
  • learning that the event occurred to a family member or close friend (the event must have been violent or accidental)
  • experiencing in person repeated exposure to aversive details of the event

So biting into a chicken bone doesn’t cause PTSD. Anyone experiencing the above criteria may experience PTSD. Some people develop PTSD after a trauma because PTSD is a real trauma disorder with specific causes.

Related Articles Dealing with PTSD

Your Thoughts

Today's Question: If you live with PTSD, have you found people who doubt PTSD is a real mental health problem? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

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There are risks and benefits to disclosing that you have bipolar disorder. The person you see today that speaks confidently about her bipolar 2 diagnosis did not exist years ago. It is important for those viewing and following my journey to know that I have been in a dark place. There was a time where living a great life was only a dream in my head.


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Mental Health Quote

"You cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illnesses were that simple we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place."

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2017, July 11). What Really Causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Last Updated: July 12, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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