PTSD Awareness Month is commemorated in June every year to spread awareness across the world about this disorder and to encourage the survivors to lead healthy life.
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a psychological disorder that can occur in any human being who has experienced a traumatic event in life such as a brutal accident, war, assault of any kind such as sexual/verbal/physical, etc.
Most people recover from PTSD after a few weeks or months yet, for some people the road to recovery may be longer than they anticipated. This mental and psychological disorder is treatable but due to the lack of knowledge and the taboo attached to mental health issues, most of the time it remains untreated and is ignored, causing the suffering to linger on.
PTSD is also known as “shell shock”, “combat fatigue” etc in the times of World War I and World War II but quite recently it has been declared a mental illness that needs to be taken seriously and that is the reason why PTSD Awareness Month is celebrated so that people across the globe can recognize this mental disorder and combat it as it is highly treatable.
According to a survey, PTSD affects almost 3.5 percent of the adult population of the United States of America every year and it is estimated that one in every 11 people in America will suffer from PTSD in his life. The alarming notation attached to this mental disorder is that twice the women get attacked by this disease as compared to men.
People who suffer from PTSD tend to have disturbing and intense feelings and thoughts regarding the incident or the traumatic experience that led to them having this mental illness.
They might keep on having flashbacks or nightmares. The sudden change of mood and the triggering of anger or fear, or sadness are some of the common symptoms of PTSD. People with PTSD often feel estranged or detached from other people and they try to avoid gatherings and interactions with people. This makes them become narcissistic in nature very slowly.
It is very important to have a proper diagnosis of PTSD in order to comprehend its nature of it and to find out what traumatic experience led to this mental condition.
PTSD symptoms and diagnosis
The symptoms of PTSD fall into four different categories depending upon their severity. The symptoms can vary from person to person. Let’s have a look at them:
Avoidance: Trying to avoid the painful reminder of the traumatic event may lead to the sufferer avoiding places, people, objects, activities, and situations that might trigger PTSD and distressing moments.
People try hard to forget or avoid thinking about the traumatic incident and by no means want to discuss or talk about it to relive the excruciating pain – again.
Intrusion: Intrusive thoughts can be very lethal to mental health. The intrusive thoughts can be repetitive, distressing dreams, flashbacks, or nightmares of the trauma experienced or the involuntary memories that may pop up in your mind at any time of the day.
Arousal and reactivating alterations: These symptoms include abrupt outbursts of anger or irritable behavior. The person starts to behave recklessly or self-destructively this may lead to having problems sleeping or concentrating on day-to-day chores.
Cognitive or mood alterations: The negative thoughts and feelings become so strong that they distort the normal thought process leading to the inability of remembering important aspects of daily routine.
This may lead to negativity and a pessimistic approach toward life with not believing in anybody and blaming self or others for that particular traumatic event. The mood alteration can lead to being detached or estranged from loved ones or family members creating a shell around the person itself as he is unable to recognize any kind of positive emotions at all.
For the diagnosis of PTSD, any of the above-mentioned symptoms must last for more than a month and they must be causing a significant amount of distress and problems in performing day-to-day functions while dealing with the trauma.
Many people develop the symptoms of PTSD after the three months of trauma but at times the symptoms may appear after years when that traumatic memory gets triggered again.
PTSD is often accompanied by other mental health conditions such as substance abuse, health derogation, depression, memory loss, or any other physical or mental problem.
How to observe PTSD Awareness Month?
There are many ways to observe and spread awareness about PTSD across the globe as it is fast becoming one of the major mental health disorders in the United States of America.
You can do multiple things to observe PTSD awareness month such as:
Stand with the survivors of PTSD
The survivors of PTSD need attention, love, and care. Research has shown that people tend to recover fast from this illness if they have ample amounts of support and love in the form of friends and family. It is very important to give them your support along with professional help and be with them in their weak moments.
Spread awareness about PTSD
Research about the causes, symptoms and the treatment of PTSD and be well equipped when spreading awareness about PTSD. You should talk about PTSD on open forums and educate your friends and family about it as well.
Remember the road of recovery
Supporting the survivors also means remembering their road to recovery and talking about it so that more and more people know what PTSD is and how to combat it.
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PTSD Awareness Month is observed every year in June. This is observed to spread awareness about this mental health disorder that gnaws away at a human being silently.
The person who is suffering from it at times lets the disease go undiagnosed because of the stigma attached to mental illnesses. It is about time that we come forward and talk about it and openly discusses in open about how a traumatic event can cause a person to suffer for the rest of their lives.
PTSD is highly curable, but the person suffering becomes so pessimistic and isolated that he lets go of the urge to combat this mental health condition. In this PTSD awareness month let’s remove taboos attached to mental illnesses and spread awareness about PTSD so that more people can walk on the road to recovery easily.