Dr Ronan McIvor on the myths surrounding PTSD for The Telegraph
Dr Ronan McIvor, a consultant psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital, features in a new article for The Telegraph,
At the time of her diagnosis, Sanghani recalls holding some incorrect beliefs about the condition, including that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) was isolated to male war veterans.
“One of the big myths is that only service personnel get it and that’s not the case,” explains Dr Ronan McIvor.
“One thinks of the caricature of someone with PTSD as a veteran with substance issues who is violent and aggressive. There’s been more of an openness in talking about PTSD in recent years, but there’s still a significant stigma.”
The article highlights that 4.4 per cent of people in England have PTSD in the last month, and it’s believed to be more common in women.
This figure is due to a number of factors, explained Dr McIvor.
“Women are more susceptible to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, so there’s that continuum of psychological distress.”
He adds that “the nature of the trauma can really result in a more severe illness, such as a one-off sexual assault that is a very personal violation, compared to something that happens to you like an accident.”
Like many mental health conditions, Dr McIvor explains that stigma and shame can prevent people from seeking help.
“People may see themselves as weak, or blame themselves for having PTSD. People may not want to be labelled with the label of having a mental illness. People may be worried about career progression, and the impact of sharing that with someone else,” says Dr McIvor.