National PTSD Awareness Month
June is National PTSD Awareness Month, a time when we focus on understanding and raising awareness about this often misunderstood mental health disorder. The month-long campaign is designed to increase public awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and support those living with the condition.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a debilitating mental health disorder that affects daily functioning. With treatment, therapy, and medication as needed, functioning can improve and symptoms can reduce.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Such as a natural disaster, combat, or sexual assault. It is natural to feel overwhelmed or on edge after such an event.
With PTSD, these feelings do not go away and can even worsen over time. If left untreated, PTSD can have a profound effect on every aspect of a person’s life, from personal relationships to work performance. During National PTSD Awareness Month, we remember those affected by this disorder and reaffirm our commitment to helping them heal.
June is National PTSD Awareness Month, providing an opportunity for people to learn about the symptoms of this condition.
PTSD is characterized by a range of symptoms that can include2:
PTSD Risk Factors
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with day-to-day functioning, one may have PTSD.
Although anyone can develop PTSD after a traumatic event, certain factors may increase the risk.
Risk factors for PTSD can include:
National PTSD Awareness Month Timeline
5th Century BC: Earliest Recorded PTSD Evidence
In his famous poem, “On the sacrax,” written in the early 5th century BC, Hippocrates described the symptoms of a soldier who had been in a violent battle4. The soldier experiences nightmares and sweats and is jumpy at any loud noise. Hippocrates noted that the soldier’s comrades felt empathy for him and could not console him. This is the earliest recorded instance of what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
1910s-1940s: Different Names for PTSD during World Wars
The term “PTSD” was not coined until the 1970s, but the condition has been well-documented throughout history, often under different names. During World War I, PTSD was known as “shell shock” due to the common belief that the condition was caused by exposure to explosions5. In World War II, it was referred to as “battle fatigue” because it was seen as a result of the stress of combat.
1970s: PTSD Coined During Vietnam War
The term post-traumatic stress disorder was first coined in the 1970s by US military veterans6. The military began using the term to describe their trauma and its symptoms after the Vietnam War.
2014: US Senate Declaration of PTSD Awareness Month
In 2014, the US Senate formally recognized June as National PTSD Awareness Month1. This designation aimed to increase public awareness of the condition and promote treatment and support for those affected.
In the years since awareness of PTSD has grown. Helping to reduce the stigma surrounding the condition and making it easier for people to seek help. Today, numerous resources are available for those struggling with PTSD, and many more people are getting the treatment they need.
Thanks to increased awareness and understanding, PTSD is no longer seen as an invisible wound. Instead, it is increasingly being recognized as a serious condition that deserves our attention and support.
PTSD Facts & Statistics
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) facts and statistics include:
PTSD in Veterans
National PTSD Awareness Month is also an opportunity to bring attention to a condition that affects many people, including veterans. Veterans are at a higher risk of developing PTSD due to the nature of their work.
The transition back to civilian life can be a difficult one for veterans. In addition to readjusting to life outside the military, many veterans also struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that can be triggered by exposure to traumatic events. For veterans, these events may include combat, sexual assault, witnessing injuries or death, and being held captive.
Here’s a quick look at the number of veterans with PTSD by service era8:
While the cause of PTSD is still not fully understood, it is clear that the condition is fairly common among veterans. This is likely due to the nature of their service. Veterans are exposed to a lot of trauma and violence and often do not have the opportunity to process those experiences before returning home. As a result, many veterans struggle with PTSD for years after they return from combat.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment
PTSD awareness month can be used to educate the public about available treatment options. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for PTSD. However, there are some effective approaches that can help with managing symptoms and reclaiming lives3.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on helping people identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors associated with their trauma. By addressing these issues, CBT can help people reduce their symptoms and improve their overall functioning.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
CPT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people make positive changes in their thinking patterns and beliefs. The therapy is based on the idea that thoughts and beliefs influence emotions and behavior. CPT can help people identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs that may prevent them from moving on from a traumatic event.
Prolonged Exposure (PE)
Prolonged exposure therapy is an evidence-based post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment. This therapy aims to help patients confront their fears and reduce their avoidance of trauma-related thoughts, feelings, and situations. The therapy consists of two types of exposure: imaginal exposure and in vivo exposure.
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is based on the principle that traumatic memories are stored in a different part of the brain than non-traumatic memories. During EMDR treatment, a trained therapist uses a structured eight-phase approach to help clients process and release memories.
The eight phases of EMDR therapy include:
- History and treatment planning
- Body Scan
In between the phases, the therapist works with the client to prepare them for processing the target memory. They help the client assess the memory, and process it to an adaptive resolution. The therapist also evaluates the results of treatment after each session to ensure that progress is being made.
By guiding the client through each phase of therapy, the therapist can help the client release harmful memories and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)
Stress inoculation training (SIT) seeks to help patients become more resilient to stress by teaching them healthy coping and problem-solving skills. Patients in SIT therapy also learn how to process their traumatic memories constructively.
Medications can be important in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are often used to help control symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and nightmares. The most common type of medication is antidepressants. These medications can help to reduce the symptoms of PTSD by balancing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Other common medications for PTSD include anti-anxiety drugs and beta-blockers. These can help to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as racing heart and sweaty palms. In some cases, doctors may also prescribe sedatives or sleeping pills to help patients struggling with insomnia.
PTSD Awareness & Support
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that occurs as a result of witnessing or experiencing trauma. PTSD Awareness month takes place throughout the month of June and is used to help bring attention to PTSD symptoms and treatments. PTSD can be treated with a customized plan of therapy and medication as needed.
If you or a loved one are struggling with PTSD, reach out to Solara Mental Health today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our mental health program.
- 113th Congress. (2014, June 23). S.Res.481 – 113th congress (2013-2014): A resolution designating the … Congress.gov. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-resolution/481
- ADAA Staff. (2021, August 4). Symptoms of PTSD: Anxiety and depression association of america. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/symptoms
- APA Staff. (2020, June). Treatments for PTSD. American Psychological Association. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments
- History.com Editors. (2017, October 2). PTSD and Shell shock. History.com. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-ptsd-and-shell-shock
- Jones, E. (2012, June). Shell shocked. Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/shell-shocked
- Jones, E., & Wessely, S. (2006). Psychological trauma: A historical perspective – king’s college london. Psychiatry. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.kcl.ac.uk/kcmhr/publications/assetfiles/historical/Jones2006-psychologicaltrauma.pdf
- Sidran Institute Staff. (2018). Traumatic stress disorder fact sheet. Sidran Institute Traumatic Stress Education & Advocacy . Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.sidran.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder-Fact-Sheet-.pdf
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, March 23). How Common is PTSD in Veterans? U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_veterans.asp