PTSD Stats

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stats and figures

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic life-threatening event or serious injury. Despite it’s prevalence, there has been limited research undertaken in the UK in previous years, although this is slowly improving. PTSD prevalence estimates vary widely, partly due to different study designs, populations, differences regarding trauma exposure, exposure to war and combat events, cultural factors, health care utilisation and methodologies, and recent nationally representative estimates were lacking. Efforts to increase PTSD screening and improve the awareness may not only allow for better detection, but to support those who are affected by it.  

  • It’s estimated that 50-70% of people will experience a trauma at some point in their life. The majority of people exposed to traumatic events experience some short-term distress, but eventually, their trauma fades to a memory – painful, but not destructive.
  • Around 20% of people who experience a trauma may go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (this equates to 10% of a population). This figure can vary widely between studies, populations and communities researched. For example, the most recent study in the UK, looking at prevalence of PTSD after COVID 19 pandemic, estimated the overall pooled estimate of PTSD prevalence to be 17.52% (double and almost triple than previous estimates).
  • 1 in 10 people in the UK are expected to experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • In the UK, that’s around 6,665,000 people who are expected to develop PTSD or C-PTSD at some point in their life, yet it is still an incredibly misunderstood, often misdiagnosed and stigmatised condition.
  • 4 in 100 people in the UK are expected to have PTSD at any given time (this stat doesn’t include C-PTSD), but still equates to 2,612,000 people in the UK.
  • Women aged 16-24 are most likely to screen positive for PTSD (12.6% of the population in this age range).
  • Age 55-64 is the only age category where men were more likely to screen positive than women for PTSD. 
  • One in 13 children and young people in the UK will suffer from PTSD at some point during childhood.
  • It’s estimated there will be as many as 230,000 new PTSD referrals between 2020/21 and 2022/23 in England, which suggests a rise of about 77,000 cases a year on average.
  • Estimated risk for developing PTSD for those who have experienced the following traumatic events:
    • Rape (49 percent)
    • Severe beating or physical assault (31.9 percent)
    • Other sexual assault (23.7 percent)
    • Serious accident or injury, for example, car or train accident (16.8 percent)
    • Shooting or stabbing (15.4 percent)
    • Sudden, unexpected death of family member or friend (14.3 percent)
    • Child’s life-threatening illness (10.4 percent)
    • Witness to killing or serious injury (7.3 percent)
    • Natural disaster (3.8 percent)
  •  
Sources
  • Ninik Yunitri, Hsin Chu, Xiao Linda Kang, Hsiu-Ju Jen, Li-Chung Pien, Hsiu-Ting Tsai, Abdu Rahim Kamil, Kuei-Ru Chou, Global prevalence and associated risk factors of posttraumatic stress disorder during COVID-19 pandemic: A meta-analysis, International Journal of Nursing Studies, Volume 126, 2022, 104136, ISSN 0020-7489, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2021.104136.
    (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020748921002819)
  • Traumatic Stress Disorder Fact Sheet
  • Jeffrey Schein, Christy Houle, Annette Urganus, Martin Cloutier, Oscar Patterson-Lomba, Yao Wang, Sarah King, Will Levinson, Annie Guérin, Patrick Lefebvre & Lori L. Davis (2021) Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States: a systematic literature review, Current Medical Research and Opinion, 37:12, 2151-2161, DOI: 10.1080/03007995.2021.1978417
  • How common is it?

  • 1 in 13 young British people have PTSD. Here’s why

  • NHS forecasts 230,000 extra cases of PTSD in England due to Covid

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Treatments for PTSD

It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.