PTSD Awareness Month

PTSD Awareness Day is observed every year on June 27th. PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and is a condition that many veterans and non-veterans alike suffer. PTSD can occur when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. This condition wasn’t always understood properly by the medical or military community, and Department of Defense press releases often point to earlier attempts to identify PTSD symptoms in the wake of service in World War 2, Vietnam, and other conflicts.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious, but common condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic of terrifying event. It is a lasting consequence of shell shocking ordeals that cause feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror. 

Once called "Battle Fatigue Syndrome", doctors first developed this diagnosis in the 1980s as they began to work with war-zone Veterans from Vietnam. At the beginning, PTSD was only considered to affect those who experienced cataclysmic events, such as war, combat, and natural disasters. 

In the present day, much has been studied and learned about PTSD, and it can be caused by several events - regardless of the severity, or how involved a person was with the actual event. Examples of a few of the causes of PTSD include:

  • Sexual or Physical Assault
  • An unexpected death of a loved one
  • An accident
  • War and Combat
  • Natural Disaster
PTSD can affect not only the victims of the traumatic event, but the families or friends of the victim, emergency personnel, rescue workers, or people who even hear about a traumatic event as well. PTSD can develop as early as childhood, and is more common in women rather than men. Currently, about 3.6% of adult Americans, or approximately 5.2 million people, suffer from PTSD during the course of a year, and an estimated 7.8 million Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
Most people who experience a traumatic event will often have reactions that include shock, anger, nervousness, anxiety, fear, and guilt. These reactions are expected and common, and for most people, they dissipate over time. For a person struggling with PTSD, these feelings continue, increase, and become so severe that they prevent the person from living, or resuming a normal lifestyle.