Approximately 90% of people in the United States are exposed to at least one traumatic event during their lifetime, most of whom are exposed to an average of 4 traumatic events.
Within the general population over 8% of civilians and 14% of veterans develop posttraumatic stress disorder. And the experience of trauma is increasing as witnessed by mass shooting events. Epidemiologic studies have shown that PTSD a costly disorder to society, largely due to health care costs as individuals with PTSD often have additional medical conditions and poorer physical and mental health In addition to the societal costs, PTSD takes a high toll on the individual and their families. PTSD is characterized by highly distressing and chronic symptoms of excessive arousal, vigilance, and intrusive memories of the trauma. The chronic experience of these symptoms impacts the body’s endocrine, immune, metabolic and nervous systems, and can lead to risk for further mental and physical diseases.
Given the substantial health consequences associated with PTSD, there is significant need to understand its causes, prevent risk for PTSD in those exposed to trauma, develop more precise treatments, minimize the frequency of traumatic events, and to spread these advances widely. This requires concerted efforts of providers, researchers, community partners, and policy makers.