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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe reaction to trauma that doesn’t go away over time. This mental health issue has been misunderstood in the past as a sign of weakness or something that cannot be cured.
PTSD Awareness Day is on June 27. It was created to educate people on PTSD and encourage them to talk openly about it. It focuses on spreading the word that PTSD is treatable and people who suffer from it can have hope for a better life.
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Spreading The Word On PTSD Awareness Day
There are many ways to spread the word on PTSD Awareness Day. Even small actions can make a big impact in informing people about PTSD and treatment options.
Ways to encourage PTSD awareness may be:
- sharing social media posts or videos about PTSD
- leaving posters or pamphlets in public places
- organizing a community event to support PTSD treatment
- talking to a veteran about mental health care
- sharing resources for people with PTSD
- supporting the National Center for PTSD
- educating yourself about PTSD and treatment options
Learning about PTSD can be a starting point for someone who is suffering from it to seek help. It can also be a way for someone who knows nothing about it to be more sympathetic and encouraging to those who struggle.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops in people who have experienced or witnessed life-threatening trauma. This type of trauma includes combat, sexual assault, a serious accident, or a natural disaster.
While it’s normal for a person to experience bad memories, insomnia, and fear after a traumatic event, these feelings usually go away after a few weeks. Individuals who suffer from PTSD continue to have symptoms for months or years.
Four core symptoms of PTSD are:
- reliving the event over and over in the mind
- avoiding reminders of the trauma, even things a person once enjoyed
- negative changes in thoughts and feelings
- constantly feeling on edge or guarded
People with PTSD often have difficulty getting close to others, which can affect friendships, marriage, and other relationships. They may feel unfulfilled because they are not fully engaged in life.
Living with constant fear isn’t healthy. It can lead to other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. In some cases, it causes people to abuse drugs or alcohol and become addicted, which may increase PTSD symptoms.
In most cases, PTSD does not resolve on its own. Untreated PTSD is likely to get worse as a person continues to follow negative patterns rather than resolving the issue.
Fortunately, treatment is available, and it works.
PTSD Treatment Options
PTSD can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy, antidepressant medication, or both. Medication only relieves PTSD symptoms as long as someone is taking it, but it can help a person focus on therapy and work through trauma-related issues.
Behavioral therapy for PTSD includes:
- Cognitive processing therapy, which involves examining how trauma changed the way someone thinks and feels. With a therapist, they learn to think about the experience differently so they can move on.
- Prolonged exposure, which consists of talking repeatedly about the traumatic event until it becomes less frightening. It may also include going to places and doing things that cause fear (in a safe, controlled environment).
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which uses eye movements or sounds to reduce anxiety surrounding traumatic issues.
Individuals who suffer from other mental disorders along with PTSD—such as addiction or depression—may find that PTSD treatment helps with these issues as well.
Why Is PTSD Awareness Day Important?
Mental health is essential to a happy and fulfilling life. Many people are unaware that PTSD is treatable, and they may not even realize they have it.
Some individuals still hold the misguided belief that PTSD is a form of mental weakness that can be overcome with time and determination. This belief prevents people from getting the help they need and often makes the problem worse.
Untreated mental health issues can cause other difficulties in a person’s life such as job loss, broken relationships, and poor overall health. Healthcare costs and crime that may result from mental instability put a burden on society as well.
PTSD Awareness Day brings to light the silent struggle of millions of Americans. It teaches the public that PTSD is a real mental disorder that can be treated and encourages people with PTSD to ask for help without shame.
To learn more about PTSD and treatment options, speak with one of our specialists today.