Military Connection: What to know about PTSD: By Debbie Gregory

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By Debbie Gregory

Post-traumatic stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have come to the forefront of public awareness.  But the symptoms are not new.  Previous generations used to call these maladies shell-shock, battle fatigue and soldier’s heart.  But what many people may not realize is that PTSD is not exclusive to members of the military who have experience combat.

In fact, despite the heightened awareness of PTSD, especially as it pertains to the military and Veteran communities, here are some lesser known facts that people should be aware of:

Experiencing a traumatic event, including combat, does not guarantee that someone will have PTSD: Very often, the way that one reacts to the traumatic event can determine whether or not they will contract PTSD. Keeping calm during the event is the best way to prevent PTSD symptoms.

Traumatic events are more likely to occur in your neighborhood, than while deployed: Experiencing and witnessing  events such as physical violence, car accidents, the sudden or violent death of a loved-one, robbery, or sexual assault can result in PTSD.

You are more likely to experience PTSD symptoms following a sexual assault than any other type of traumatic event: There is an elevated level of helplessness and loss that is often associated with sexual assault. Sexual assault victims have a higher rate of PTSD than combat Veterans.

PTSD sufferers often experience additional symptoms, such as depression or other mental health ailments: It is not a coincidence that PTSD sufferers also suffer from depression; both ailments are often triggered by specific events.

Suffering from PTSD does not mean you’re “crazy”: This is one of the most important points that the public needs to know, especially the sufferers themselves.

PTSD does not cause someone to be violent: While violence can be a by-product of a fight-or-flight feeling, many PTSD suffers will seek safety over resulting to violence. It is very important for PTSD sufferers to have a place of refuge.

Immediately treating PTSD can prevent symptoms from spilling into other parts of your life: It is strongly recommended that you seek medical attention when any PTSD symptoms are present following a traumatic event.

Treatment can help, no matter how long it’s been since your trauma: Don’t wait one, five or twenty years to seek help for PTSD symptoms. But if you have put off seeking treatment, it is never too late.

With treatment, it is possible to achieve a full recovery from PTSD: Treatment has proven to effectively alleviate PTSD symptoms. Still, the biggest obstacle between PTSD sufferers and treatment is their own fear of shame.

There is no shame in seeking help: Seeking help for PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It is imperative to a PTSD sufferer’s health and to the betterment of their families that they seek the care they need.

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Military Connection: What to know about PTSD: By Debbie Gregory