An estimated 8 million people in the United States suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. It remains one of the least understood mental health conditions. Those who suffer from it face many mistaken assumptions on a daily basis. To address this problem, PTSD awareness day is an effort intended to promote wellness even as it increases awareness of the PTSD treatment program and symptoms.
What Is PTSD Awareness Day?
The history of PTSD awareness day began with an unfortunate event in 2007. Staff Sergeant Joe Biel took his own life after returning from two tours in Iraq.
In 2010, Senator Kent Conrad put forth legislation in the Sergeant’s name to recognize an official day of awareness for PTSD. SSG Biel’s birthday, June 27th, is now the date for PTSD Awareness day 2019. All of June is PTSD awareness month with the passage of Senate Resolution 481.
The Truth About PTSD
A common myth about PTSD, however, is that it is only experienced by veterans of combat. The truth is that any traumatic event may result in PTSD symptoms after the event ends. PTSD is the result of observing or experiencing a traumatic event. Up to 70% of the U.S. population has experienced trauma that results in post-traumatic stress.
Some individuals develop the symptoms associated with PTSD while others do not. It is also a disorder that accompanies mental illnesses that may seem similar, such as depression or anxiety disorders. Those with PTSD actually are more likely to develop these disorders as a result of their PTSD symptoms and efforts to self-medicate can lead to a higher overall risk of developing substance abuse disorders.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Difficulty sleeping, concentrating on tasks and remaining calm
- Increased irritability, anger, and lack of impulse control
- A feeling of emotional numbness and a desire to avoid people, place, and activities related to the trauma
- A feeling of re-experiencing the trauma triggered by specific stimuli
- Distressing recurrent thoughts, dreams, and flashbacks related to the traumatic event
Helping Those With PTSD
In conclusion, PTSD Awareness Day will hopefully result in that more who are afflicted with the disorder seek out a PTSD treatment program to find the care they need. This is a treatable disorder even though not nearly enough people who suffer from it seek treatment, such as talk therapy.
Also, this is doubly important for those with PTSD and addiction. Co-occurring disorders can result in a profound vicious cycle of hopelessness that may prevent the individual from seeing any way out other than suicide. This outcome is unacceptable and increased awareness can save those that are suffering from PTSD and substance abuse problems.
Thank you for taking the time to observe PTSD Awareness Day on June 27th. If you have more questions about PTSD and how it may contribute to substance abuse problems, please don’t hesitate to call us at 866.832.6398 and take the first step toward recovery.