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.