June is PTSD Awareness Month. About 12 million adults in the U.S have PTSD in a given year. During this entire month we are dedicated to learning more about PTSD, especially in veterans, and understanding ways to support those that experience it. We want to dig into resources that will help and share them. The best way to normalize something is to talk about it. Our goal is to continue talking about these difficult topics to make it easier for someone to get the support they need.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The reactions to trauma, especially in veterans, is something that is continued to be studied and analyzed. However, reactions to trauma does not only include veterans but can be caused by any situation that causes distress or threatens your life or the life of another. Some traumatic events could include crashes, shootings, fires, abuse, neglect, and violence and assault. Not everyone develops PTSD after a traumatic event, and many are able to fully recover without treatment. On the other hand, there are many who experience PTSD significantly and lose ability to function. PTSD is usually diagnosed at least one month after a traumatic event and some symptoms include: Distressing memories, nightmares or flashbacks, negative thoughts and mood, self-destructive or risk-taking behavior, difficulty concentrating, and sleep problems. It is important for anyone after a traumatic event to see a health care professional to be screened to see the best course of treatment available. Everyone handles trauma different, and it is important to get support specific to your needs.
PTSD in Veterans
During their time served, veterans may have been exposed to different types of traumas than everyday civilians. War zone deployment, training accidents, and military sexual trauma can lead to PTSD. They were more exposed to horrible and life-threatening experiences. About 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year. About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War veterans have PTSD. And about 15 out of every 100 Vietnam veterans have PTSD. The types of symptoms are similar to those above including flashbacks, anxiety, and combative or protective behavior.
Throughout the years, there have been an increasing number of resources for those living with PTSD. For our veterans, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has a national center for PTSD. They are the world’s leading research and educational center of excellence on PTSD and traumatic stress. They give support on understanding PTSD, (symptoms, types of trauma, common reactions, and related problems) treatment options, (therapies, medications) how to get immediate help, and resources for family and friends. During the month of June they are making a pledge to raise awareness about PTSD and effective treatment. They are also during a PTSD screening day on June 27th to help more people diagnose their PTSD. Lastly, they are doing a PTSD Awareness Virtual Walk. Visit https://www.ptsd.va.gov for more information.
Another great resource is the Instagram account @veteranswithptsd. They are a community of veterans dealing with PTSD and wanting to support others. Their website includes blogs, things within the community, and research studies. Their Instagram is relatable for those with PTSD and are extremely active with their posts.
Within our nonprofit program, we do our best to give the most amount of support to veterans. Especially those living with a disability and deserve their freedom back. Our goal is to expand this mission and start researching topics like PTSD and provide the resources needed to give those the help they deserve. There are many great programs out there that are specific to PTSD, and we appreciate and support every one of them, especially during PTSD Awareness Month. The goal is to always keep learning and being able to provide our amazing veterans with the most support possible.