This month is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 5.2 million American adults will face PTSD this year alone, and about 7-8% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
It’s important to note that experiencing a traumatic event doesn’t mean you’ll face PTSD. More than half of all Americans live through some type of trauma, but only a fraction will develop PTSD.
According to a statement released by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius earlier this month,
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. PTSD may result in sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams about the trauma, intense reactions to reminders of the trauma, disturbances in relationships, and isolation. Some people may recover a few months after the event, but for others it may take years. For some, PTSD may begin long after the events occur.
If you think you or someone you know may have PTSD, you’re not alone. As part of the Affordable Care Act, HHS is partnering with the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to share ideas on how to improve the quality of care for veterans and non-veterans alike.
If you’re looking for help, reach out to a VA counselor by calling 1-800-273-8255 (press “1”) or visit the online VA Chat.
If you’re not a veteran or you’d rather find services in your area, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a mental health services locator to help you find assistance close to home.
It goes without saying that PTSD is a serious mental health condition that typically requires professional treatment, the National Center for PTSD has released a “PTSD Coach” app to teach users how to manage post-traumatic symptoms.
If you’re feeling a heightened level of distress, the app has options designed to ease those emotions. One method is positive imagery:
By combining professional help and these modern tools, PTSD can be treated and overcome. If you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one, take the first step and ask for help.