June is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Awareness Month
Awareness creates understanding, removes stigma
While combat veterans are often the first people we think of in association with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), others who have been through a serious traumatic event can also develop PTSD. In addition to war zone exposure, triggering events can include physical or sexual assault; serious accidents; natural or man-made disasters (such as a terrorist attack); and torture.
A serious traumatic event such as those listed above is the one trait all PTSD sufferers have in common. However, many myths abound about PTSD that must be addressed to better understand the illness. These myths include:
- Only veterans suffer from PTSD—while many of those with PTSD are veterans who have been through unthinkable traumas in war zones, they are not the only ones who can develop PTSD.
- People with PTSD are weak—patently false. One of the most consistent findings is the greater the severity of the causing trauma, the greater likelihood of developing PTSD. This has no bearing on one’s mental or emotional strength.
- Those who have PTSD are dangerous—don’t believe what you see at the movies about the person with PTSD going on a violent spree. Those with PTSD are more likely to isolate themselves and tend to avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic event.
If there is one thing people should be most aware of when it comes to PTSD, it’s the amount of support resources available. PTSD is treatable and support is readily found from organizations in person and online. For veterans, this includes DAV (Disabled American Veterans), the Wounded Warrior Project, the US Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, and PsychArmor Institute. Non-veterans can also find assistance, particularly at Faces of PTSD and the PTSD Alliance. These organizations offer education and support in many forms. Remember, if you suspect that you or a loved one has PTSD, the bravest thing you can do is seek help.
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