June is PTSD Awareness Month, and June 27th specifically is PTSD Awareness Day. Take today to learn more about PTSD and understand what these soldiers are going threw. PTSD effects thousands of soldiers. For most soldiers it is a daily battle, but with time and some understanding we can all help make coming home for these soldiers a little easier.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is commonly seen in soldiers returning from war and in those who have experienced traumatic events such as natural disasters, abuse, and violent criminal activities. After experiencing one or multiple traumatic events, a person may experience frequent intrusive thoughts and frightening dreams related to the event. Those who suffer may also avoid situations that remind them of the event, or they may be easily startled and on guard constantly. Numb and detached feelings can also be indicative of PTSD.
The official diagnosis was not termed PTSD until after troops started returning home from the Vietnam War. Until that point, there were many unofficial names for the disorder, including stress syndrome, soldier’s heart, battle fatigue, railway spine, shell shock, and combat stress reaction.
Stats and Facts
- Less than 40 percent of soldiers with PTSD will seek help.
- Every day, an average of 5 active-duty troops attempt suicide.
- 2 out of 3 marriages are failing for troops who suffer from combat trauma.
- About 44 million people in the nation were or are currently suffering from PTSD.
- 10 percent of women and 5 percent of men will develop PTSD in their lifetime.
When You or a Loved One Has PTSD
There are self-screens that a person can take to determine if they might have PTSD. A self-screen includes a set of questions that if answered “yes” may indicate the presence of PTSD.
Raising awareness about the disorder is all about connecting and sharing. You might try posting on social media about PTSD to raise awareness of the disorder. Once you have learned what PTSD is and what the signs are, reach out to those around you who you know suffer. Do not be discouraged if your support is not well received. Keep trying and don’t give up on the ones you love. Getting support is one of the biggest helps a person who suffers from PTSD can have.
If you think you might have PTSD, don’t wait to seek help. You don’t have to suffer by yourself, and you shouldn’t have to suffer at all.
The first step is getting a diagnosis. If you think you might have it, talk to your primary doctor or a mental health professional. Veterans can also contact the Vet Center or a VA hospital. Whether you seek immediate help or not, reach out to a friend or family member who you are comfortable with. With their support, it may be a lot easier to get the care you need.
Research has been ongoing for PTSD, and today there are many helpful treatments that have been extremely successful. Those with PTSD may want to keep their feelings bottled up, but expressing them in a safe environment will help. The most effective type of counseling in practice today is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is broken down into 2 types: cognitive and exposure. With this practice, a mental health therapist will challenge negative thought patterns in order to resolve negative behaviors.
Several peer support groups offer a safe place for you to get support and connect with others who also suffer from PTSD. Although support groups will not likely reduce symptoms, they can help you feel connected to others and know that you aren’t alone. Some support groups are also offered online. In addition to professional treatment, you might want to consider meeting with a group to discuss day-to-day problems if you suffer from PTSD.