10 facts about PTSD to help spread awareness
Although commonly associated with military veterans or active-duty service members, PTSD is a disorder that affects a wide range of people and can be triggered by a variety of traumatic events.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, events that may lead to PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat, and various forms of other violence. While approximately 50 percent of U.S. adults may experience a traumatic incident in their lives, that does not automatically mean they may have PTSD.
- People with PTSD may rehash and still be frightened by these past events, fight against sleeplessness, be dehydrated and/or numb, feel nauseous, and can easily be startled. They can also experience uncontrollable shaking, chills or heart palpitations, and headaches,
- Approximately seven or eight of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
- Women are more likely to experience PTSD—approximately 10 out of every 100 women compared to four out of 100 men.
- About half of people with PTSD may recover in three months without treatment. However, there is the possibility that symptoms will not go away on their own and may last longer than three months.
- Children may be diagnosed with PTSD if long-term symptoms last more than one month. (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a guide to distinguish the difference between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and PTSD, which often have the same symptoms of restlessness, being fidgety, inability to pay attention, and becoming disorganized.)
- PTSD that lasts for longer periods may be due to the cause of the number of times that a traumatic incident happened, the severity of the event, fatality risk, a history of past trauma, mental health problems before the current incident occurred, and direct exposure to the traumatic event.
- People with severe forms of PTSD may experience challenges at work, at home, and/or in social settings.
- Parents of children with PTSD should encourage their children to express their feelings and thoughts without judgment.
- While it may be difficult to interact with someone with PTSD, know that this person is having just as tough a time if not more. The nervous system of someone with PTSD is especially vulnerable, which may lead to behavior or feelings such as being overly alert, angry, irritable, depressed, or untrusting. A supportive social circle may be the best answer to calming him or her down.
- Face-to-face support may be better than love from afar for someone with PTSD, according to trauma experts. This can come in the form of participating in pleasurable hobbies, rhythmic exercises or dancing, and/or lunch dates.
These statistics were compiled from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Coping Handout), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PTSD), Help Guide, National Institute of Mental Health, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Awareness Month), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (PTSD).
Shamontiel L. Vaughn
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