According to the National Center for PTSD, 12 million adults in the United States alone will experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) within a given year. June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day to spread awareness about PTSD and the millions of lives that it affects. One of the most important ways that you can observe this day is by taking some time to educate yourself on what this mental health condition is and who it impacts. We are sharing some key facts about PTSD to help you out.
1. Women are Disproportionately Affected
While men have about a 4% likelihood of developing PTSD, 10% of women will experience this disorder. So women are over two times as likely to receive a diagnosis of PTSD.
2. There are a Wide Range of Symptoms
The DSM-5 criteria for PTSD includes several clusters of symptoms. These clusters are symptoms of intrusion, arousal, avoidance, and negative emotion. Respective examples include flashbacks, irritability, avoiding trauma-related places, and persistent guilt. It is important to recognize that PTSD presents itself differently in everyone.
3. Several Factors put Individuals at Risk
There are multiple factors that can put someone at risk for developing PTSD after a traumatic experience. Evidence suggests that genetics may play a role. However, additional risk factors include a lack of social support, previous trauma, additional life stressors, trauma that lasts for a prolonged time, and having a preexisting mental health condition.
4. Children can have PTSD
Adults are not the only ones who can be affected by PTSD following a traumatic event. While not every child who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, there are some signs and symptoms to look out for. These include nightmares, reduced appetite, trouble concentrating, and isolating oneself from others.
5. There are Many Ways to Experience Trauma
PTSD can result from experiencing trauma in multiple forms. You can experience a traumatic event directly, but you may also be a witness to trauma, learn that a loved one has experienced trauma, or have repeated and extreme exposure to the details of a traumatic event. While PTSD is widespread amongst veterans, anyone who experiences traumatic events can be affected.
6. There is Hope
There are many resources available and services for those impacted by PTSD. These services include traditional psychotherapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Emerging research suggests virtual reality exposure therapy may be helpful. You can also practice coping skills such as mindfulness, exercising, and journaling. Research continues to discover effective treatment options.
Now that you have learned these facts, you can go a step further and make a pledge to spread awareness in your community this PTSD Awareness Day!
by Hannah Furlow, 6/27/2022