June is National PTSD Awareness Month
By Member Joyce Shry
June 4, 2019

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, rape or other violent personal assault. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

According to the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder), post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks. PTSD can occur in all people.

Not every traumatized person develops ongoing (chronic) or even short-term (acute) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (https://www.psychiatry.org), PTSD symptoms are grouped into four types: intrusive thoughts, avoiding reminders, negative thoughts and feelings, and arousal and reactive symptoms such as changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.