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Can Unrelated Traumas Increase / Impact Initial Trauma?

Discussion in 'Social' started by NotDepressed, Mar 29, 2007.

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  1. NotDepressed

    NotDepressed Member

    My initial trauma and the one that keeps recurring in my mind at certain times, was a molestation, but nothing as terrible or severe as most have experienced here. Between those incidences and now, I have been date raped and had two incidents of attempted stranger rape in public. Does anyone think that compounding experiences have worsened or caused their PTSD?

    I'm new, here, so forgive me if this is a dumb question.

    And yes, I'll discuss this with my therapist on the next visit.
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  3. Ironrod

    Ironrod New Member

    I believe it does

    Over 50% of the veterans I have worked with sufering from complex PTSD have a pre-existing trauma before their military expeience.

    In most cases this was some form of childhood abuse.

    Also the increased exposure to combat now experienced by troops being regularly rotated back into combat zones and the increaseing number of service personnel being discharged with psychological problems does suggest a possible connection between repeated exposure and likelihood of developing PTSD.

    Although the NCPTSD website states, "The most recent National Comorbidity Survey Report, published in 2005 on a newer sample, estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans at 6.8%. The earlier NCS data set estimated prevalence of lifetime PTSD to be 7.8% in the general adult population, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives. This represents a small portion of those who have experienced at least one traumatic event; 60.7% of men and 51.2% of women reported at least one traumatic event."

    This suggests the probability of a woman developing PTSD after one traumatic event being 1:5 and men being 1:12.

  4. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Absolutely! The one trauma would have been enough to affect you, any one of those, but several, and it reinforces each time, particularly as they were all of sexual abuse. Alternatively, you may NOT have been too affected by the first trauma in relation to PTSD, but the other trauma's may have raised it, and caused PTSD. Or, if the first trauma caused PTSD, further trauma's will only add to it, and compound the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs around this. It becomes re-traumatisation to the first one, and also often seperate trauma events in their own individual right.

    Personally, I also have several trauma's. There are many others here who also do, so you are not alone. PTSD, from one or many trauma's is devastating. Each and every one of us are affected similarly, but also differently as everyone has their own trauma story. For me, on top of the specific affects after each trauma, the whole host of them left me wondering why things like this kept happening to me. It left me feeling that there was something in me specifically that caused it. It made me feel like to have so many bad things happen of the same sorts of things, it can't be them it must just be me. It also made/makes it very difficult for me to deal with one trauma, as all are interlinked and connected. So I thank you for making me feel less like the only person it has happened to.... but of course, I wish things like this didn't happen even once to anyone.

    Again, you're not alone -every single person on this board, whatever the nature of their trauma(s), will be able to relate to you, and you will be able to relate to, because we all feel affects of PTSD. It helps in ways individual therapy can't (though good individual therapy is a massive benefit obviously also). I strongly believe that, in some ways, the best experts are those who experience this first hand so you are in a good place.

    Take care,

  5. NotDepressed

    NotDepressed Member

    Thanks for your answer to my question; I was about ready to give up after my introduction post. I know what you mean about wondering why these things keep happening to me (you). Hopefully, they won't happen to either of us, anymore. It helps to know that other people have gone through similar issues. Thanks again, and I realized that I posted this on the wrong board. Oops, oh well. I'm new.
  6. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Yes, multiple trauma all adds up to the overall impact. Some people can have the one or two traumas and not get PTSD, but one more is like a catalyst if you like, then the initial trauma foresay may then become the most prevalent upon their mind, not so much the more recent trauma. That is how it works, and they all do most certainly addup.
  7. NotDepressed

    NotDepressed Member

    Thanks for all the replies. 1:5 is a high prevalance.
  8. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    I can really relate to this. I've talked with my therapist about this; she has extensive experience counseling people with histories of abuse. It is true that subsequent traumas add to the effect of the first trauma. It's also true that when one experiences traumas like this early in life, it can make one vulnerable to future victimizations. I also always wondered why so many bad things happened to me. Was there something about me that was wrong? Was I wearing some kind of invisible (to me) sign on my forehead, saying, here I am, weirdos? The way I understand it now, is that the first trauma can so affect one's self-perception of the world (also, the age when you are traumatized enters into this), that it can sort of disrupt one's ability to grow, for example, in terms of knowing how to protect oneself from subsequent predators. It took me a long time to figure out how to protect myself. And I figured that out, for the most part, long before I had ptsd symptoms. For me, it was only after I felt safe for an extended period, that the symptoms surfaced. Okay, that's probably getting off topic. The main point I wanted to make was that, yes, traumas are cumulative, and they can disrupt your ability to prevent future traumas until you are able to figure out how to protect yourself. So, NotDepressed, no, that is absolutely not a dumb question, and, no, you are in no way alone in this. Take care.
  9. map9

    map9 Active Member

    A good analogy is "the straw that broke the camel's back" and sometimes when these multiple experiences of trauma are (somehow) held in check and then one more thing happens, it's as if the dam broke. Instantly the body reacts and is in a fight or flight mode. The person is struggling to gain some sense of order amidst the chaos. Attempting to find a way out of the situation gets confusing. I also agree with the comment that hodge made regarding the fact that one is suseptible to future victimizations. It's not a dumb question but an excellent question pertinent to many PTSD sufferers. Love, map9
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