June is PTSD Awareness Month
PTSD is a form of stress disorder that interrupts a person’s quality of life. June was named PTSD Awareness Month when Congress named June 27th as PTSD Awareness Day in 2010. The National Center for PTSD uses the month to raise awareness of PTSD, its causes and symptoms, and effective treatments, so that sufferers will seek therapy and avoid feeling stigmatized for their condition.
What is PTSD?
PTSD develops after an individual experiences a traumatic or life-threatening event. Perhaps most commonly associated with soldiers, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may affect any person at any age. After the trauma, stress reactions include upsetting memories, jumpiness, and trouble sleeping. PTSD is recognized when a person does not recover from the event, or their reactions get worse. Traumatic events that trigger PTSD may include the following:
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Terrorist attack
- Serious accidents
- Natural disasters
The feelings of powerlessness, lack of control, and fear following a traumatic event can lead to a stress disorder, which left untreated, may result in the development of PTSD. However, it is important to realize that not everyone who has experienced a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
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Symptoms of PTSD
Sufferers may not seek Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment right away, because symptoms may take a while to manifest. Signs typically appear shortly after the event, but may manifest months or years afterward. The appearance of symptoms may come and go, but any indication or set of symptoms that lasts over a long period of time or interrupts daily life requires treatment. There are four recognized PTSD symptoms: reliving the event, avoiding similar situations, changes in feelings or belief, and hyperarousal – feeling jittery or looking for a source of danger.
Stress reactions triggered by a traumatic event may include the following:
- Negative feelings such as shame or despair
- Substance abuse
- Manifestation of physical symptoms or pain
- Employment problems
- Relationship problems
The first step in dealing with stress disorders is seeking professional help. PTSD awareness is important for sufferers because too many feel that they have to contain or hide feelings from their families or friends. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is treated in two distinct ways: psychotherapy and medication. Treatment may combine both.
Psychotherapy, also known as counseling, is conducted by a therapist who may use different Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for treatment. CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral therapy, is recognized as the most effective PTSD treatment and includes different types of exercises, such as Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) helps individuals understand how an event changed their thoughts or feelings.
- Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE) uses continuous retelling of the event until the event is no longer as upsetting. It may also have the patient revisit places related to the trauma until they are no longer threatening.
Medications are used to treat PTSD, but do not get to the core of the PTSD trigger. Medication is effective in treating depression or decreasing nightmares.
There is a range of stress disorders that individuals suffer from in the United States. Stress reactions manifest in physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral ways. PTSD awareness draws attention to all forms of stress disorders so that society can learn the facts, connect with others, take action to seek treatment, and support those who struggle every day to recover from their trauma.
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Help is available to treat individuals with one or more stress disorders. If every day is a struggle and your quality of life has depreciated, then contact Bridges to Recovery today. No one should suffer forever because of a traumatic event in the past. Contact us today to take the next step in your stress disorder or PTSD treatment.