PTSD In Women: Specificity

The American Psychology Association (APA) conducts annual surveys to study the effects of stress on the population. This was the case in 2010, when a study was finally published in which a possible relationship between gender and stress was analyzed. The results were significant as well as eloquent, given that they highlighted an often invisible but common reality.

Some data that must make us reflect to better understand the effects of stress on our lives are the following:

Women are more sensitive to stress than men. This figure does not highlight a female whim, nor is it casual: it is dictated by biological factors. Dr. Rina Valentino, behavioral neuroscientist, published an article in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in which she explains that stress has a greater impact on women because they are more susceptible to the hormone cortisol, which triggers biochemical and physiological changes faster in the female gender.

They perceive a state of PTSD beforehand compared to men. Furthermore, they make use of their friendships to deal with these emotional states and are more inclined to seek the help of a professional.

We already know that the way in which PTSD affects women is different and this in two respects. First, because of cortisol. Women are more sensitive to this glucocorticoid which is secreted in response to stress. Secondly, they react to this emotional state, perceive the symptoms much earlier and try to do their best to manage stress better.

However, we cannot underestimate an obvious aspect. The broad typically feminine symptomatology associated with PTSD is the following:

  • Insomnia.
  • Hair loss.
  • Acne.
  • Menstrual irregularity.
  • Changes in metabolism: weight gain or loss.
  • Fertility reduction.
  • Risk of heart disease or cerebrovascular accidents.
  • Digestive problems: ulcers, irritable bowel.
  • Weak immune system.
  • Decline in sexual desire.
  • Woman with a stomach ache

According to a study by the Department of Psychology of the University of Michigan, women with PTSD are more at risk of depression.

Beyond the different effects of PTSD on women and men, we need to know how to identify the problem. Understanding this process and what it implies for our health must push us to make changes, to seek professional help. We do not postpone to tomorrow the worry that torments us today. We do not postpone until tomorrow that pressure on the chest that is gripping us today.

Published by Evelyn Green