Rates of PTSD High Among Athletes

March 22, 2022 11:37:01

While almost every individual will experience a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime, not everybody will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). Research has found that unlike the general population, some groups do undergo experiences that make them more susceptible to PTSD. For instance, members of the military have some of the highest rates, at 38%, with 33% of ICU nurses and 18% of nurses also meeting the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Studies have now found that this disorder is also common in athletes, with estimates ranging from 13% to 25%.

PTSD is classified with stressor and trauma-related disorders under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. The disorder usually occurs when an individual is exposed to an event that threatens sexual violence, bodily harm or death. Athletes sometimes experience bodily harm, which may cause PTSD to develop.

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are usually classified in four categories, including marked arousal and reactivity, negative or worsening moods, avoidance of stimuli related to the event and symptoms associated with the event. These symptoms may persist for more than a month, which may result in significant distress and not be associated with prescribed medications or other substance use.

Intrusive symptoms include various types of distressing thoughts, such as recurring memories, traumatic dreams and flashbacks. To be diagnosed, a patient must be suffering from at least one of these symptoms.

Cheerleading has the a high number of injuries that result in death, temporary loss of function or permanent disability, including skull fractures, brain bleeds and spinal cord injuries, while football has the most injuries among players in both games as well as in practice.

Research conducted in 2018 also found that athletes who suffer concussions have a higher chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. The researchers explained that in comparison to a healthy control group, athletes who suffered concussions demonstrated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

An estimated 19% of the athletes also revealed that they tried avoiding situations that reminded them of their injuries, with about a quarter admitting to having trouble sleeping and others reporting that they relived their incident through flashbacks or had intrusive thoughts about it.

In their conclusion, the study’s authors stated that while their physical symptoms resolved on their own, athletes could develop this traumatic disorder even after recovering from the physical damage. They recommended that sports programs adopt screening for PTSD for concussed athletes. Other studies have also recommended that athletes receive proper mental health treatment after they have witnessed or experienced trauma, and there could soon be revolutionary mental health treatments if the psychedelic research and development being undertaken by companies such as Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (NEO: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF) (FSE: ONFA) is anything to go by.

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