What’s What Wednesday: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness
June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness month. What is PTSD? PTSD is a mental health diagnosis that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic and life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It is normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. If it has been longer than a few months and you are still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or symptoms may come and go over time.
You may be wondering what traumatic events can cause PTSD? Types of traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:
- Combat and other military experiences.
- Sexual or physical assault.
- Learning about the violent or accidental death or injury of a loved one.
- Child sexual or physical abuse.
- Serious accidents; like a car wreck.
- Natural disasters; like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake.
- Terrorist attacks. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what’s happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.
Going through a traumatic event is not rare. At least half of Americans have had a traumatic event in their lives. Of people who have had trauma, about 1 in 10 men and 2 in 10 women will develop PTSD. It is common to think that PTSD symptoms will just go away over time however this is very unlikely, especially if you have had symptoms for longer than a year. Getting treatment can help keep PTSD from causing problems in relationships, career, or education — so you can live the way you want to.
You can make a difference by learning about PTSD, reaching out to someone going through a traumatic event and spreading the word.