The human mind is amazing. It works in complex ways with the body to keep us alive, help us to heal, and enable us to continue on through challenges and difficulties. And while our mind has enormous strength, it also has limitations. It’s important to realize this—particularly when it comes to recovering from trauma.
When it comes to trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many people simply ‘push through’, thinking they are coping with the trauma when in reality they are suffering. Understanding PTSD, its symptoms, and how to get the right treatment are key to recovery.
June is National PTSD Awareness Month and there’s no better time to learn more about this highly treatable mental health disorder impacting millions across the globe. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 8% of the United State’s population will experience PTSD in the course of their lives.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is the result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. From wars and violent assaults to accidents and natural disasters, experiencing these types of traumas can result in ongoing issues for some.
PTSD can last for a few days, weeks, or months. In other cases, it can last for years. This is true for many who don’t seek or get help for it. This is one reason why raising awareness about PTSD is so important. When more people understand PTSD, the symptoms, and know where to go for help, more will be able to heal from PTSD.
Some symptoms of PTSD include paranoia, insomnia, depression, anxiety, nightmares, and more. Symptoms vary from one person to the next and can also vary in the degree of severity. For some, their days and nights are consumed with PTSD symptoms, for others, they may occasionally be ‘triggered’ by certain things. No matter what, PTSD is a real mental health disorder with viable treatment options to help anyone living with it to heal.
Recently PTSD has gained more awareness than in years past, however, it’s important to understand that this trauma-induced mental health disorder is not new at all. In fact, in a poem by Hippocrates in 50 B. C. wrote about a soldier returning from war who had PTSD symptoms.
Much later in time, PTSD was called ‘shell shock’ or ‘battle fatigue’ by those in both World War I and World War II. The term, post-traumatic stress disorder, was first coined in the 1970s as soldiers returned quite traumatized from the Vietnam War.
And while people have been struggling with and living with PTSD for many years, as you can see, it was only in 2014 that the United States Senate declared June as the National PTSD Awareness Month.
Facts About PTSD
The goal of this month is to not only raise awareness about the symptoms of PTSD but also to show those suffering (or those who love someone with PTSD) that treatment does work. Many who have PTSD are reluctant to seek help. Some may think it just won’t work and others feel like they should be able to handle it on their own.
This is particularly true for veterans with PTSD. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, about 11-20 of every 100 veterans have PTSD. But again, what’s so vital to understand is that treatment really does work—no matter who you are or what the cause of your PTSD is. There are many who received treatment for PTSD and have gone on to reclaim happy lives once again.
When it comes to PTSD many people think about veterans, and while this group does suffer tremendously from PTSD (and understandably so) more women than men are diagnosed with PTSD. This could be because women are more likely than men to report PTSD as well as seek treatment for this mental health disorder. However, data shows that the reason women are twice as likely to have PTSD at some point in their lives is due to a sexual assault.
Let’s look at some facts associated with PTSD:
- Research shows that when anyone suffering from PTSD has a strong support system they are more likely to recover faster.
- There are two types of trauma associated with PTSD; one (Big T) is from a life-threatening event occurring such as being in a war or being assaulted. The other (Small t) is from experiencing an upsetting event that is not life-threatening, such as a divorce or relocation.
- It is normal to experience shaking after a traumatic event. Research reveals that this is the body’s way of releasing excess adrenaline.
- PTSD can occur when someone witnesses or hears about a traumatic event.
As you can see PTSD can happen for different reasons and looks different from one person to the next. However, treatment and recovery are possible for anyone with PTSD.
How to Help Someone with PTSD
As mentioned, there are millions of Americans living with PTSD—most untreated. If you or someone you love is living with PTSD there are some things you can do.
First, remember that those individuals who have strong support systems recover faster from PTSD. For this reason, if someone you love has PTSD it’s important to be there for them. This can mean lending an ear for them to talk or providing numbers for resources such as support groups or counseling.
Next, learn more about the symptoms of PTSD. Overall symptoms such as depression, irritability, and anxiety were mentioned above, however, it’s a good idea to look a bit closer as there are many different symptoms of PTSD.
When you learn more about trauma, addiction, and PTSD, you are better equipped to recognize the sometimes hard to detect signs of this mental health disorder. This will be helpful whether you have PTSD or you want to find out how to help someone with PTSD.
Raising awareness about PTSD is vital so that those suffering can understand that they have a treatable mental health disorder and get the help they need to live happy, healthy lives.
You can do your part in raising awareness by talking about PTSD, going to events about PTSD, or donating money, if you’re able, to PTSD groups.
Yes, PTSD can take away the joy in daily life and be difficult to live with, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. PTSD can be a reminder of the beauty of the human mind and body to deal with traumatic events and to heal.
Resources for PTSD
Since PTSD can vary from one person to the next, the needed resources will also vary. Here are some resources that may be helpful to learning more about PTSD and getting help:
If you or someone you love is in an immediate crisis call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
However, if you are not in an immediate crisis and need to talk to someone more about PTSD here are a few numbers:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
En Español: 1-888-628-9454
1-800-273-8255, press 1
Send a text to 838255
Chat online Confidential Veterans Chat
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Finder
If you or someone you love is living with PTSD there is help. Help that works, help that will give you back your life. Futures Recovery Healthcare treats those with PTSD and substance abuse issues. Reach out today and start healing tomorrow. Contact Futures’ Team online or call at 866-804-2098