Common Myths Surrounding PTSD

PTSD myths

 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Despite increasing awareness, there are several misconceptions surrounding PTSD that can hinder understanding and support for individuals affected by this condition. In this blog post, we will debunk some common myths about PTSD, shed light on the reality, and emphasize the importance of seeking professional help.

Myth: Only combat veterans can develop PTSD. While it is true that combat veterans are at a higher risk of developing PTSD, this condition can affect anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Traumatic events can include physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, or the sudden death of a loved one (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). PTSD does not discriminate based on occupation or background.

A little bit about soldiers: Research focused on Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel indicates that 12-month estimated rates of PTSD among currently serving members is 8%, rising to 17.7% among ex-serving. The rate in the Australian population is estimated at 5.7% over a 12-month period. (Department of Veterans’ Affairs 2022)

Myth: Individuals with PTSD are weak or mentally unstable. PTSD is not a sign of weakness or mental instability. It is a natural response to an overwhelming and traumatic experience. The symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and hyperarousal, are the mind’s way of coping with the trauma. Seeking help for PTSD is a sign of strength and resilience (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.).

Myth: Time heals all wounds; people with PTSD will eventually get over it. PTSD is a complex mental health condition that requires professional intervention. While some individuals may experience a decrease in symptoms over time, others may continue to struggle (Friedman et al., 2018). Hence the importance of appropriate treatment. Early intervention and evidence-based therapies can significantly improve the prognosis for individuals with PTSD.

Myth: PTSD is a rare condition. Contrary to this myth, PTSD is more common than one might think. According to the Phoenix Australia (2022) about 5-10% of Australians will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. This means that at any one time over 1 million Australians have PTSD.

Myth: PTSD cannot be treated. PTSD is a treatable condition, and recovery is possible with the right therapeutic approaches. Evidence-based treatments, such as Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure), have been shown to reduce symptoms and improve overall well-being ( Schnurr et. al, 2022). Seeking professional help is essential for managing and overcoming PTSD.

Myth: I have only had one traumatic event. You need to have more than one for it to be PTSD. This is not true. PTSD can be caused by a single traumatic event, and by repeated exposure to trauma.


By debunking these common myths surrounding PTSD, we can foster a more empathetic and informed society. It is vital to recognize that PTSD can affect anyone and that seeking help is a sign of strength. If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, the Centre for Clinical Psychology in Melbourne is here to support you. Book an appointment today by calling 03 9077 0122 or visiting our website at


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Department of Veterans’ Affairs (2022) Let’s talk about posttraumatic stress disorder…(17 October 2022) Retrieved From:

Friedman, M. J., Resick, P. A., Bryant, R. A., & Brewin, C. R. (2018). Considering PTSD for DSM-5. Depression and Anxiety, 35(3), 162–165.

National Institute of Mental Health (n.d)

Phoenix Australia (2022) PTSD Awareness Day 2022. Retrieved From:

Schnurr, P. P., Chard, K. M., Ruzek, J. I., Chow, B. K., Resick, P. A., Foa, E. B., Marx, B. P., Friedman, M. J., Bovin, M. J., Caudle, K. L., Castillo, D., Curry, K. T., Hollifield, M., Huang, G. D., Chee, C. L., Astin, M. C., Dickstein, B., Renner, K., Clancy, C. P., Collie, C., … Shih, M. C. (2022). Comparison of Prolonged Exposure vs Cognitive Processing Therapy for Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among US Veterans: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA network open, 5(1), e2136921.