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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): how does it affect men?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

A specter can take up residence in the recesses of our minds and become an incessant companion long after the initial shock of traumatic events has worn off. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mysterious illness that haunts the minds and emotions of those who have been through terrible things.

Traumatic experiences leave indelible marks on the mind, whether they are the result of a jarring car accident that breaks the illusion of safety, an unexpected twist of fate that shatters the fragile balance of existence, the haunting horrors of a war zone that seep into the very fabric of the soul, or the chilling aftermath of being preyed upon by the cruel hand of assault. Memory becomes a relentless reel that plays on an infinite loop, and time itself becomes broken within the depths of PTSD. Those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sometimes feel stuck by their own memories of tragic events and are unable to release themselves from the grip of their own history. The peace of their lives is washed away as waves of fear, anxiety, and discontentment hit the shores of their existence.

To find peace in comprehension and to lead the way to recovery, let us explore the secrets at the heart of this enigmatic ailment known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What exactly is PTSD?

Simply put, PTSD is a condition that individuals may suffer from after experiencing a very distressing situation. A car accident, an unforeseen occurrence, being in a war zone, or becoming the victim of an assault are a few examples of what this might entail. When a person has PTSD, the terrible experience can continue replaying in their mind. They appear to be entrapped in those memories and unable to escape them. The person may experience powerful recollections that leave them feeling terrified, anxious, or unhappy.

What does PTSD feel like?

What does PTSD feel like

A person's thoughts and feelings about themselves and the world around them might change as a result of PTSD. People with PTSD can have problems falling asleep, constantly feel on edge, or be easily startled. Negative ideas like remorse or the perception that the world is hazardous may also cross their minds.

You start doing everything in your power to avoid anything that brings up those memories because they are so strong. It seems like your brain is trying to keep you from having that fear again. As a result, you might avoid places, people, or circumstances that bring up unpleasant memories. You can even try to fully block out such recollections if you find them to be too much to bear.

The challenging part is that, despite your best efforts to prevent it, that dreadful experience may alter how you view both yourself and the environment. It's comparable to donning a pair of sunglasses that give everything a sad, scared, or angry color. You can begin to feel less secure or as though unfavorable events are inevitable. Trusting other people might be quite challenging, and you could feel distant from the people you care about.

What are some symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD

  • People who have PTSD frequently have disturbing or intrusive recollections or flashbacks to the traumatic event. These memories could suddenly surface and be extremely upsetting.

  • Many people who have PTSD experience recurrent nightmares that are based on the traumatic incident. The painful nature of these nightmares can interfere with sleep, making it difficult to get to or stay asleep.

  • People with PTSD may engage in avoidance behaviors to deal with the upsetting memories and reminders of the experience. They could steer clear of situations, people, activities, or discussions that bring up the horrific experience in their minds. Their relationships and daily lives may be impacted by this avoidance.

  • A person's attitude, thoughts, and beliefs might undergo major changes as a result of PTSD. They might continue to feel unfavorable feelings like anxiety, remorse, humiliation, wrath, or despair. Additionally, they might start to hold unfavorable opinions of themselves, other people, or the entire world. They might also start to feel distant or lose interest in past interests.

  • PTSD can co-occur with physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal problems, tension headaches, or aches and pains. The body's stress response may be the cause of these symptoms.

  • A heightened state of arousal, which can appear as being easily startled, having an excessive startle reaction, or feeling continually on edge, is a common symptom of PTSD. They might also be more vigilant than usual, continuously examining their surroundings for danger.

What are some potential causes of why men suffer from PTSD?

Potential causes of why men suffer from PTSD

  • Military service: Men comprise a sizable component of the military population in many different nations. During service in the military, serving in combat areas or being exposed to potentially fatal situations increases the risk of acquiring PTSD. Military operations frequently expose personnel to extremely traumatic and stressful situations, which can have long-lasting effects.

  • Tragedies and catastrophes: Traumatic occurrences like car crashes, natural disasters, or workplace mishaps can happen to men. The onset of PTSD may be influenced by these unexpected and startling occurrences.

  • Occupational exposure: Men are frequently exposed to traumatic events in some occupations, such as those of first responders (police officers, firefighters, and paramedics), healthcare professionals, or journalists covering conflict zones. The likelihood of having PTSD can rise as a result of these recurrent exposures to traumatic events.

  • Sexual trauma: Since sexual trauma affects people of all genders, it can also happen to men who have been sexually abused or assaulted. These stressful events can cause PTSD to manifest and have a profound effect on mental health.

  • Childhood trauma: Men who were exposed to traumatic events as children, such as physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence, may go on to acquire post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adulthood. Trauma experienced as a child can have an ongoing impact on mental health and raise the possibility of developing PTSD.

Is there a cure for PTSD?

cure for PTSD

  • Psychotherapy: A crucial part of treating PTSD is counseling. Two popular therapy modalities for PTSD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). While EMDR focuses on processing traumatic memories and lowering their emotional intensity, CBT assists people in recognizing and changing harmful beliefs and behaviors connected to the traumatic incident.

  • Group therapy and support groups: Associating with people who have gone through comparable traumas in group therapy or support groups helps foster a sense of community and understanding. The healing process can be aided by peers' experiences, perspectives, and coping mechanisms.

  • Mindfulness and grounding exercises: Using mindfulness and grounding exercises can help people manage their PTSD-related anxiety and intrusive thoughts while remaining in the present. These methods entail paying attention to the current moment, employing one's senses, and interacting with one's immediate surroundings.

  • Changes in lifestyle: Certain lifestyle modifications can promote general well-being and assist in managing PTSD symptoms. Establishing routines, prioritizing sleep hygiene, limiting coffee and alcohol intake, and partaking in enjoyable activities are a few ways to do this.

  • Pet therapy: Studies have indicated that spending time with pets or interacting with animals, such as therapy dogs, is beneficial for mental health. Animals can offer companionship, solace, and a sense of security, all of which might lessen PTSD symptoms.

  • Art therapy and other creative outlets: Expressing one's feelings and processing traumatic events can be facilitated by participating in creative pursuits like writing, music, dancing, or art therapy. These activities can help you express yourself, learn about yourself, and speed up the healing process.


Having PTSD is a very difficult and complicated experience that can significantly affect a person's life. Overwhelming and disruptive PTSD symptoms include intrusive memories, flashbacks, emotional anguish, and avoidance. It's crucial to keep in mind that recovery and healing are possible. Individuals can regain a sense of control and resilience with the proper assistance, which may include therapy, medications, self-care techniques, and a wide network of strong friends and family members. It is crucial to seek assistance and not go through the path alone, even though it could be challenging and call for patience and persistence. It is possible to get past the pain and towards a future of recovery, development, and restored hope with time and the right care.

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