June 27th is commemorated as PTSD Awareness Day, and this month is the right time to draw attention to this much-neglected mental health condition that affects so many in Indiana.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common mental health condition that often results when a person has suffered through an extremely catastrophic or life threatening event or series of events. Examples of such events include serious or catastrophic car or truck accidents, natural disorders, shootings, and assaults. Many victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the US tend to be military personnel who have gone through traumatic experiences in combat. However, any kind of life threatening event can trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A person who has suffered a severely traumatic event like this may not immediately begun to exhibit symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can make diagnosis of the condition tricky. Typically symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will occur days, week or even moments after the event has occurred.
A person who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder feels stressed, fearful and anxious, even when the threatening situation is no longer present. He may find himself permanently edgy and jumpy. Loud noises may startle him, or may trigger panic attacks. The person may suffer nightmares of the traumatic event and experience vivid flashbacks of the event. Even thinking about the event can trigger adverse physical, mental and emotional reactions. In some cases, the person may avoid any situation that causes him to remember the traumatic event. Bouts of anger are common as are feelings of irritability and annoyance with loved ones.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be very stressful for the loved ones of the person, who often find themselves at the receiving end of the person’s anger and outbursts, and may be unsure of how to help the person.
Treatment for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder typically involves medications, therapy or a combination of the two. Cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy may also help.