What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
By: David Kinchin

Page 2 "PTSD"

As with every other subject, Post Traumatic Stress has its own statistics
BSTTW
Translations
to quote. Much of the work on the subject was brought about by
the so-called "Disaster era" between 1985 and 1989. During those five years, thirteen major incidents shook Britain killing over one thousand people and traumatising many more.

These major incidents claimed considerable media attention and rightly so. But the only figures produced after each incident referred to fatalities. Without wishing to trivialise any death, it is true to say that dead people do not suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, those who saw them die, or who were close to them either emotionally or physically at the time of their death, may well develop symptoms of PTSD. It is generally estimated that for every one death in an incident, there are likely to be at least eight people who are traumatised and go on to develop PTSD. So the thirteen disasters cited in the UK disaster era may well have produced around 8,500 cases of PTSD.

The UK disaster era: 1985-1989

Date
Deaths
12 May 1985
Bradford City Football fire
40
29 May 1985
Heysel Stadium crowd disturbance
56
22 Aug 1985
Manchester Airport fire
55
6 Mar 1987
Herald of Free Enterprise sank
187
19 Aug 1987
Hungerford shootings
16
11 Nov 1987
Enniskillen bombing
12
18 Nov 1987
King's Cross fire
31
6 Jul 1988
Piper Alpha oil rig fire
167
12 Dec 1988
Clapham rail crash
35
21 Dec 1988
Lockerbie plane crash
270
8 Jan 1989
East Midlands air crash
47
15 Apr 1989
Hillsborough Stadium disaster
96
20 Aug 1989
Marchioness pleasure boat sank
51
Total 1,063

But, major disasters account for only a fraction of the number of people who die as a result of accidents or violence.

During the five years of 1985 to 1989 there were 108,862 fatalities of which just 1,063 were linked to the thirteen well publicised major disasters. The rest of the fatalities are made up from car accidents, domestic accidents, crimes of violence and all the other incidents which account for about 56 deaths every day in UK and which pass almost unnoticed by many of us. If the "eight for one rule" is applied to all these deaths, that is, eight cases of PTSD for every fatality, then over 870,000 people suffered from PTSD in Britain during that same five-year period. This figure is equal to 1.5% of the total population.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder High-Risk Groups
Event
Risk
Shipwreck Survivors
75%
Bombing (terrorism) Survivors
50%
Sexual Abuse Victims
50%
Rape Victims
50%
Combat Victims
40%
Hijack Survivors
35%
Victims of Bullying
35%
Air Crash Survivors
25%
Car Crash Victims
20%
General Population
1.5%

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