Sometimes, we think that post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is something that’s reserved for veterans or active military personnel. And while the condition can certainly affect those individuals, and often does, it can also happen to anyone else, too. June is PTSD Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder, what it does to those who suffer from it, and how you can help.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health issue that people can develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event. That event or experience could be a variety of things: combat, a car accident, sexual assault, or a natural disaster, for example. Anyone is at risk for developing PTSD, at any age. Certain factors increase the likelihood of PTSD developing, such as the length and intensity of the traumatic event. Generally speaking, the longer and more intense an event is, the greater likelihood that PTSD will develop.
What impact can it have on people?
PTSD will trigger upsetting memories, feelings of unease, and difficulty sleeping, among other symptoms. Individuals suffering from PTSD may find it difficult to do normal activities, like waking up in the morning, going to school or work, or spending time around their friends. They will probably avoid things that remind them of their trauma, even things they used to enjoy.
How can you spread awareness?
There’s no better time to raise awareness about PTSD and the dangers it presents than right now, during PTSD Awareness Month. It’s essential for letting survivors of traumatic events know that PTSD is a real condition and that effective treatment is available. Whether a person is traumatized from combat, sexual assault, accidents, or any other kind of traumatic event, it’s important for them to know that they can achieve a better quality of life.
Here is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ PTSD Awareness Month Calendar. On it, you’ll find all sorts of great ideas for raising awareness, from sharing a social media post to hosting a PTSD awareness event. Even the smallest gesture can make a big difference!
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