PTSD and Civilians

PTSD is most commonly associated with veterans and combat. However, this myth is false and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can affect anyone that has experienced any event that is outside the norms of human experience, such as rape, assault, etc.

Most people have faced a scary or even dangerous situation sometime in their life; in fact, data suggests that over 61% of the population has been affected by a traumatic event. Most people can quickly recover from this sort of experience within two or three months. However, when a person encounters a traumatic life ending experience that goes beyond the realm of everyday life, such as a major accident or serious illness, that person is susceptible to PTSD, whether a combat veteran or a civilian. Getting easily irritated can impact relationships with relatives and loved ones. The severe stress and low concentration can cause low productivity at work. The sights, the places, or even the smell of an area which triggers flashbacks of the traumatic event can cause a loss of interest in hobbies. This disorder strips you away from the quality of life that you deserve.

Experiences that can lead to PTSD:

  • Violent Crimes
    • Home Invasions
    • Rape
    • Assault
  • Accidents
    • Industrial
    • Automobile
  • Witnessing
    • Natural disasters
    • Violent or unexpected deaths
    • Terrorist attacks
  • Medical Conditions
    • Life-threatening illness

People who are more likely to get PTSD:

  • Public Service Careers
    • Police
    • Firefighters
    • EMS
    • 911 operators
  • Servicemen/women
    • Marine
    • Army
    • Navy
    • Air Force
    • Coast Guard
  • Victims of Assault/Rape
  • Refugees


These traumatic events are not always easy to cope with alone: but you don’t have to. How do you know if you have PTSD? Early warning signs include YES to the following questions:

Are you drinking more than you used to drink? YES NO
Are you more easily agitated, irritable, or angry? YES NO
Are you more easily startled? YES NO
Are you more withdrawn than usual? YES NO
Are you more negative, pessimistic, and gloomy than before? YES NO

If you answered yes to any of the questions above after experiencing a traumatic event, you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of PTSD. Don’t let the misconception that civilians can’t have PTSD stop you from getting back to the quality of life you are trying to achieve. Please call 770-817-9200. See if the Institute for Advanced Medical Research at Mercer University can help you be an active advocate of your health.