BACKGROUND: PTSD is a trauma related anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to one or more frightening events that threatened or caused severe physical harm. Reexperience trough flashbacks and/or nightmares are common. Persistent avoidance of thestimuli which is associated with trauma and increased physiological arousal are other important aspects of PTSD. Lifetime prevalence of PTSD is one percent. Men have a greater exposure to traumatic situations but women have higher rates of PTSD compared to men.Aim of this article is to focus on these gender differences in PTSD. Do they exist and which factors may contribute to gender differences?METHOD: I searched in Pubmed and Bibsys with following keywords: PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder, gender differences, sex differences, PTSD epidemiology and Scandinavia. I also searched in Uptodate and Google with the keyword PTSD. I excluded complex PTSD and ASD from my searches.
RESULTS: Women have a twice as high prevalence of PTSD and have more severe PTSD compared to men. Traumatic events are more common among men but women are subjected to more pathogenic traumas, like rape and sexual abuse. Depression and other anxiety disorder are more frequent among women, and are associated with PTSD. There are also sex differences in peri- and posttraumatic cognitive response. The feeling of guilt and helplessness are stronger among women. Women have also a lower HPA (hypothalamicpituitary-adrenocortical) response compared to men. However, the neurobiology of sexdifferences in PTSD is still a young field.