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Learn, Challenge, Explore, and Reach Out: June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day
Carrie Steckl, Ph.D.: Fri, Jun 21st 2013
Imagine experiencing a traumatic event such as military combat, a natural disaster, sexual abuse, or a serious accident. Then, in the days, months, and years beyond, imagine…
- Reliving the trauma over and over again through flashbacks and nightmares.
- Avoiding people, situations, and even the simplest social interactions that may remind you of the event.
- Experiencing negative beliefs about yourself and your life, as well as difficult feelings such as depression and hopelessness.
- Feeling anxious, jittery, always on guard, and unable to relax or sleep.
Sounds pretty debilitating, doesn't it? It is. And people who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) live with these symptoms every day. These individuals need compassion, understanding, and targeted support and services to help them manage their symptoms and regain control over their lives again.
That's why in 2010, Congress designated June 27th PTSD Awareness Day. Since then, the National Center for PTSD has done a fantastic job of motivating the public to learn about PTSD and raise awareness of this condition throughout the whole month of June each year.
Do you know someone with PTSD? Chances are, you do. If they need help but aren't sure where to turn, you can make a difference by taking the following four steps suggested by the National Center for PTSD:
- Learn about PTSD so you can recognize the signs and symptoms and understand its pervasive effects. Start by reading Understanding PTSD, or watch its accompanying interactive video.
- Challenge your assumptions about PTSD and the effectiveness of treatment. Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and additional treatments can really make a difference in the lives of people with PTSD. Don't assume that nothing can be done. Learn more here.
- Explore the many options available for those seeking support for PTSD. Whether you have PTSD or are caring for someone who does, resources such as counseling, support groups, and online tools are available. For a summary of resources and tips on how to find them, click here.
- Reach out to family, friends, coworkers, and community members to inform them about PTSD and the variety of resources that are available. And if you suspect that someone close to you is experiencing PTSD, help that person get the support and treatment he or she needs. If you're not sure where to start, read these seven tips from the National Center for PTSD.
I applaud the National Center for PTSD for its hard work toward raising awareness about a condition that is more common and debilitating than many of us realize. Let's help them make a difference on June 27th and throughout the rest of the year.