PTSD, short for post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health disorder that affects each person differently. One person may experience flashbacks and anxiety, and another may experience specific phobias and irritability. Due to the inconsistent nature of this condition, there are many misconceptions surrounding it.

In this blog, we aim to dispel these misconceptions by discussing the myths and facts about PTSD for those interested in learning about this common mental health condition. 


Myth #1 – Only Veterans and Combat Soldiers Get PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often thought of as a mental health issue that only affects military veterans. This assumption is because military veterans have a higher risk of developing the condition due to their frequent exposure to trauma, specifically in combat.

Truth: Certain occupations place people at greater risk of developing PTSD. This higher-risk group includes people who work in law enforcement, hospitals, and hospice care. However, anyone who experiences a traumatic event can develop PTSD regardless of military or employment status.

These events may include:

  • People who experienced childhood trauma
  • People who live with anxiety 
  • People who have been diagnosed with depression
  • People who experienced domestic violence
  • People who have experienced war or natural disaster
  • People who have been in or witnessed a car accident
  • People who were sexually victimized
  • People who were assaulted or witnessed an assault
  • People who were diagnosed with life-altering injuries
  • People who have had life-threatening illnesses


Myth #2 – The Only Treatment for PTSD is Medication

Some people with post-traumatic stress disorder use prescription medications to cope with feelings of isolation, difficulty sleeping or panic attacks. However, medication isn’t the only option for treatment for PTSD symptoms.

Truth: Medication is a welcome treatment for individuals whose PTSD symptoms affect their daily lives. Some people experience PTSD flashbacks or related anxiety so frequently that they are unable to sleep or concentrate without help. However, medication isn’t the only help for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be treated using medical interventions, therapy, or a combination of both. The most widely used treatment for PTSD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals understand how trauma impacts their thoughts and behaviors and teaches them how to challenge and cope with these thoughts and behaviors. CBT also provides coping strategies to help individuals manage PTSD triggers and other symptoms.


Myth #3 – PTSD Will Go Away if You Stop Thinking About It

Many individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder tend to avoid discussing their trauma or anything that triggers memories of it. They may go to extreme measures to prevent thoughts of the traumatic experience, like avoiding specific words, websites, TV shows, or locations. However, avoidance rarely eliminates the memory.

Truth: After experiencing a traumatic event, some people may not want to speak about it for a while to process it. This reaction is normal and doesn’t indicate the avoidance behaviors of a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

However, people with PTSD avoid speaking about the trauma for fear of reliving the experience. This response is called emotional avoidance. When a person engages in emotional avoidance, it makes it harder to heal from the traumatic experience and may lead to other conditions, such as panic disorder or anxiety disorders. 


Myth #4 – PTSD Is a Sign of Mental Weakness

Post-traumatic stress disorder is difficult to cope with. People who have this condition may feel detached from others and not in control of their own emotions or behaviors. This may result in feelings of hopelessness, vulnerability, or depression, leading the person to believe that they are weak or out of control. They may feel that something is wrong with them since other people who experienced the trauma didn’t respond the way that they did. 

Truth: PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness, nor does weakness cause it. Even the most courageous people develop post-traumatic stress disorder, including military veterans and first responders.

Why it happens to some people and not others isn’t fully understood, but some factors place a person at a higher risk of developing the disorder than others.

These include:

  • Witnessing trauma regularly
  • Having little social support
  • Experiencing assault
  • Fighting in a war
  • Experiencing child abuse
  • Witnessing a violent crime
  • Suffering from anxiety or depression
  • Having a substance use disorder or addiction


Myth #5 – Everyone Experiences PTSD the Same Way

When you think of post-traumatic stress disorder, you may conclude that everyone who has it experiences flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks. When PTSD is depicted in movies, the characters often display these symptoms in addition to insomnia and depression.

Truth: People with post-traumatic stress disorder do not all share the same symptoms. This is because they process their traumas differently. For this reason, the symptoms vary from one person to another, and some change with time. 

Additionally, the symptoms of PTSD are grouped into four categories. There are multiple symptoms listed under each category. Some people display a few, others display many, and others display all the symptoms in one or more categories.


Learn More About PTSD 

PTSD isn’t a one-size-fits-all condition. Everyone experiences it differently. The above-listed myths are a few of many that exist surrounding PTSD, its symptoms, and treatments. 

To learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder treatment options at Transformations Mending Fences, Call us today (888) 995-6013 to begin your path toward healing.

  1. National Institute of Mental Health. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  2. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. How Common is PTSD in Veterans?
  3. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Avoidance