Know the three levels of safety to understand the main contributing factor to PTSD.

Those who are forced to resort to the third level of safety are typically those who develop PTSD. Despite going through a traumatic event, if an individual has a strong support system and can escape the event (i.e., they are not held or trapped against their will), there is a low chance of that individual developing PTSD.

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  1. Level 1: Social engagement.
    This is the first thing we do when we feel threatened: we look to those around us for help, support and comfort.

  2. Level 2: Fight-or-flight.
    If no one comes to our aid, we will revert to the “fight-or-flight” response, wherein we either fight off our threat ourselves, or we run to a safe place.

  3. Level 3: Freeze or collapse.
    If we are unable to fight or flee, we will turn to our last resort for self-preservation: we will shut down and expend as little energy as possible.

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