• National PTSD Awareness Day


    Image credit: Military Health System



    This Saturday, June 27, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs mark National PTSD Awareness Day.


    In the United States, more than 8 million veterans and civilians suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or over 6% of the population. While each has a history of trauma, every individual’s story is unique. Combat, terrorism, violent crime, abuse, natural disasters, car accidents, and other life-threatening experiences have all contributed to the increase of PTSD in recent years.


    Research by the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder shows that homeless combat veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq are more likely to suffer from PTSD than Soldiers of previous conflicts.


    Trauma-related stress affects relationships and jobs, with loved ones and coworkers often feeling unable to help. Problems associated with PTSD can also affect the will to live. The specter of suicide haunts a significant number of veterans today.



    Identifying Symptoms and Warning Signs


    Symptoms may start months or even years after the traumatic event, and they sometimes come and go over time.


    People with PTSD typically develop the following symptoms:

    Painful memories, or reliving the trauma (flashbacks)

    — Edginess, hypervigilance, and/or insomnia

    — Avoidance of triggers, including activities or situations that used to be enjoyable

    — Increase in sadness, depression, and/or negative thinking

    You Can Do Something About it

    There is real hope. With awareness on the rise, help is more available than ever before. Care is crucial after identifying PTSD. Patients who receive treatment report a higher quality of life than those who avoid care. Seeking social support from family, friends, and others also benefits many patients.


    Veterans are encouraged to contact the VA for help with PTSD: http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/PTSD.asp


    Active duty/retired personnel with PTSD should schedule an appointment with a primary care manager or mental health provider: https://tricare.mil/mtf/


    Civilians who are experiencing PTSD should speak with their doctor for a referral to a specialist. You can search for local providers here: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/




    In 2010, the US Senate officially designated June 27 National PTSD Awareness Day. Then, in 2014, the Senate declared June PTSD Awareness Month.


    To learn more, visit the National Center for PTSD: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/

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