People who have gone through or witnessed a traumatic event may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can manifest itself in many different ways. While not everyone who undergoes trauma will develop PTSD, certain factors can increase an individual’s risk.

Understanding these factors is critical to identifying those at risk of developing PTSD and providing them with the necessary support and treatment. In this article, we will explore the various factors that can contribute to the development of PTSD, including both environmental and individual factors.

Causes of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Many different types of trauma can lead to PTSD, including:

1. Exposure to Severe or Prolonged Trauma

  • Physical or psychological trauma resulting from a life-threatening experience
  • Exposure to extreme violence or other traumatic events
  • Experiencing a traumatic event in multiple ways

2. Childhood Abuse or Neglect

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Neglect or abandonment
  • Living in an environment of chronic stress or danger

3. Sexual Assault or Abuse

  • Being a victim of sexual assault or abuse
  • Witnessing sexual assault or abuse
  • Being exposed to sexual harassment or other forms of gender-based violence

4. Combat Exposure

  • Being in a combat zone
  • Experiencing direct contact with the enemy
  • Witnessing violence or death during combat

5. Natural Disasters

  • Experiencing a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane, or flood
  • Exposure to the destruction caused by the disaster
  • Having to evacuate or relocate due to the disaster

6. Witnessing Violence or Death

  • Witnessing violent or fatal events
  • Experiencing or witnessing domestic violence
  • Witnessing a death or fatal accident

7. Serious Accidents

  • Being involved in or witnessing a serious accident
  • Having to cope with the aftermath of the accident
  • Experiencing the fear, shock, and pain of the accident

8. Medical Trauma

  • Being a victim of medical malpractice
  • Going through a traumatic medical procedure
  • Having a life-threatening medical diagnosis

9. Occupation-related Trauma

  • Experiencing dangerous or traumatic work conditions
  • Witnessing or experiencing violence related to the job
  • Being exposed to hazardous materials

10. Lack of Social Support

  • Not having family or friends to provide support
  • Feeling isolated from others
  • Experiencing stigma or discrimination from society

Why Does PTSD Occur?

The development of PTSD can be attributed to various factors, such as psychological, genetic, and environmental factors. Here are some of the reasons why PTSD develops:

  • Trauma Exposure: PTSD usually develops after exposure to a traumatic event beyond a typical stressor. The event can involve actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Trauma can cause significant psychological, behavioral, and physiological changes that can lead to the development of PTSD.


  • Genetic Factors: Research has shown that some genetic factors may make certain individuals more vulnerable to PTSD. Genetic factors may affect how an individual responds to stress and trauma, making them more likely to develop PTSD.


  • Biological Factors: PTSD can also be caused by biological factors, such as changes in brain chemistry. Trauma can lead to brain structure and function changes, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, contributing to PTSD.


  • Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, such as social support, can also influence the development of PTSD. A lack of social support, social isolation, or stigma can increase the risk of developing PTSD.


  • Pre-existing Mental Health Conditions: Pre-existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, can increase the risk of developing PTSD after a traumatic event.

Treating PTSD in a Safer and Effective Way

Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate the body’s activities. They are produced by special glands called endocrine glands, which are located throughout the body. These glands make hormones and release them into the bloodstream to travel to other body parts, where they work together with other cells or tissues to control various functions.

These chemicals can affect the brain, which is a vital organ that controls our thoughts and emotions. In some cases, hormones can also influence behavior. So by treating these hormones, we can get better control of our thoughts and emotions. In this way, we can manage the symptoms of PTSD.


Hormonal treatments for PTSD can help people with this condition manage their symptoms. The therapy is helpful because it changes the levels of hormones in the body, which can impact how people feel. This is similar to what happens when someone takes medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

Experience the transformative effects of bioidentical hormone therapy. Melinda Silva, MD, is a bioidentical doctor in San Diego who specializes in hormone replacement therapy. Book an appointment with me today to learn more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and how it can help you.