Breslau, Davis, Andreski and Peterson (1991) studied young adults in Detroit, Michigan and studied the prevalence of their exposure to traumatic events. The researchers found out that the rate of PTSD in those who were exposed to traumatic events was at 23. 6%, which is quite high. These individuals therefore had higher tendencies to be afflicted with psychological disorders. There were several risk factors identified by the researchers including male sex, low education levels, extraversion, substance problems and incidence of psychiatric problems in the family.
Helzer, Robins and McEvoy (1987) conducted an epidemiological study on posttraumatic stress disorder in war veterans, trauma victims and those who have experienced disasters. They found out that PTSD was associated with a number of psychiatric disorders in adults. Of particular interest to them was their finding that those who were wounded in Vietnam as a result of the Vietnam war were greatly affected by PTSD.
People who suffer from PTSD have greater instability in their jobs, they tend to engage in child abuse, experience poverty, they are more suicidal, and they can even suffer from diseases such as peptic ulcer, bronchial asthma, and anti-social behaviour. Some of them may even experience social phobia. For these reasons, those who are suffering from PTSD need professional help so they can deal with their problem more effectively (Davidson, Hughes, Blazer & George, 1991).
Although people who experience traumatic events may recover after several months, there are those who suffer continuously for more months. In response to this, Ehlers and Clark (2000) developed a model of the persistence of PTSD. This model takes into account the negative appraisal of the trauma, the disturbance of autobiographical memory and perceptual priming. By changing the negative appraisals and the trauma memory, the patient will be able to recover more quickly and they can get over the impact of PTSD more quickly than if they are left to themselves.
Depression may be experienced by persons suffering from PTSD especially right after the occurrence of trauma. Comorbidity was associated with lower levels of energy and functioning and those with PTSD experienced higher heart rates. They also experienced depression. The findings of Shalev, et. al. (1998), however, indicates that PTSD and major depression occur independently from each other and they increase depression in the patient. The researchers also recommend early treatment and intervention so as to mitigate the negative impact of these two debilitating conditions.