Medical trauma is a widely misunderstood and unreported source of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Cases Acute Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from Medical Trauma often go undiagnosed.
Medical trauma can occur following a wide variety of circumstances and events that invoke intense fear, helplessness or terror, including but not limited to:
- Diagnosis of a life altering or life threatening illness diagnosis for oneself or a family member / partner
- Severe pediatric illnesses: parents, children and family members are all at potential risk of developing stress disorders
- Assault, malpractice or negligence by a medical practitioner
- Life threatening emergency medical care
- Traumatic childbirth, including but not limited to premature deliveries, birth defects, high risk pregnancies, and emergency cesarean sections
- Miscarriage of a pregnancy or ectopic pregnancies
- Extended or confined hospital stays
It's important to note that a medical trauma does not actually have to be life threatening to lead to PTSD; however, it must be perceived to be life threatening. For example, the discovery of a tumor that is later found to be benign could be a significant enough stressor to lead to Acute Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Resources & Links:
- Pediatric Medical Trauma
- The Atlantic: The Mothers Who Can't Escape the Trauma of Childbirth - For some women, the psychological toll of childbirth leads to a form of PTSD—distinct from postpartum depression—that follows them into new motherhood
- Harvard Health Blog: Heart attack can trigger PTSD
- Scientific American: A Hospital Stay Can Trigger PTSD
- Self.com: A Disturbing Amount Of Women Experience PTSD After A Miscarriage