Overall, the symptoms of PTSD are similar in everyone, despite sex or gender. However, certain symptoms may be more prevalent in males.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event or series of events. It can affect a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

The symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe.

This article discusses the symptoms of PTSD in males. It also goes over the causes of PTSD and how they differ between males and females. Finally, it will explain the prevalence of PTSD and how healthcare professionals treat it.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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The symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person. However, an individual’s sex or gender does not generally affect them. However, research has shown that females may be more likely to experience more distress across all of the symptoms of PTSD except for hypervigilance. Males may be more likely to experience higher levels of distress with hypervigilance.

Experts categorize symptoms of PTSD into four categories — re-experiencing, avoidance, arousal and reactivity, and cognition and mood.

PTSD symptoms

flashbacksavoiding thoughts or feelings about the eventeasily startlednegative thoughts about the world or oneself
recurring memories or dreamsstaying away from places, people, or objects that are reminders of the eventfeeling tense or on edgedifficulty remembering facts about the event
physical signs of stressdifficulty falling or staying asleepfeelings of blame toward oneself or others
distressing thoughtsdifficulty concentratingloss of interest in activities
irritability, anger, or aggressive outburstsdifficulty feeling positive emotions
behavior that may be dangerous or harmfulsocial isolation
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The cause of PTSD can vary from person to person. Any kind of life threatening or traumatic event can lead to an individual developing the condition.

Some examples of events that may lead to PTSD include:

  • being involved in or witnessing a car accident
  • being bullied, harassed, or abused
  • being held hostage, kidnapped, or another event that causes fear for their life
  • being sexually assaulted or abused
  • experiencing violence, including military combat, terrorism, or a violent assault
  • being in a job where an individual consistently hears about or sees distressing things, such as the armed forces or emergency services
  • seeing other people hurt or killed
  • surviving a natural disaster
  • experiencing traumatic childbirth
  • losing someone close to you
  • receiving a life threatening diagnosis

How the causes differ

Research shows that gender may play a role in the age when an individual experiences trauma. For example, females may be more likely to experience a traumatic event at a younger age. This may generally be through sexual or physical abuse. However, males may be more likely to experience trauma later in life.

This does not mean, however, that males cannot experience the same kind of trauma earlier in life.

Males may also be more likely to hold roles where they face combat or high-risk situations. While females may be more likely to experience sexual assault.

Around 6 in every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their life. Females are 2–3 times more likely to develop PTSD than males.

The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in males is around 5–6%. In females, it is around 10–12%. However, anyone can develop PTSD at any age.

The symptoms of PTSD typically begin within 3 months of the traumatic event. However, they can appear later than that in some people.

For a diagnosis of PTSD, a person must experience the following for at least 1 month:

  • at least one avoidance symptom
  • at least one re-experiencing symptom
  • at least two cognition and mood symptoms
  • at least two arousal and reactivity symptoms

For some, symptoms of PTSD may begin to subside within 6 months. For others, however, they may last for 1 year or more.

Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. In the same way, not everyone who experiences PTSD requires treatment. For some, the symptoms of PTSD begin to subside without treatment over time.

Treatment for PTSD typically involves:

If an individual is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, they should speak with a mental health professional.

The following are some questions people frequently ask about PTSD.

What are the physical signs someone has PTSD?

Some people with PTSD may experience physical symptoms. These may include:

  • pain
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • feeling sick
  • sleep issues, such as insomnia and nightmares
  • headaches
  • stomachaches
  • chest pain
  • dizziness

What are the five signs of PTSD?

The five signs of PTSD include:

  1. the presence of a traumatic or life threatening event
  2. experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, or both
  3. avoidance of people, places, and objects that are reminders of the event
  4. feeling the need to look out for danger or on edge, also known as hypervigilance or hyperarousal
  5. changes in mood or thinking

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder do not typically depend on sex or gender, though they may vary from person to person. However, males may be more likely to experience great levels of distress with hypervigilance.

Not everyone who develops PTSD requires treatment. If someone does need it, treatment generally involves psychotherapy, such as CBT, and medications to help manage symptoms.

If an individual is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, they should speak with a healthcare or mental health professional.