Letter: June is PTSD Awareness month

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can impact anyone who has survived a traumatic event. PTSD can disrupt your whole life and keep you from enjoying life’s pleasures.

“Fortunately, PTSD is now discussed much more openly than it once was,” said Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter. “PTSD most likely has impacted someone you know. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms so that you can get help if you or a loved one is having difficulty coming to terms with a traumatic experience.”

PTSD affects more people than you might realize. Almost six out of 10 people will experience at least one traumatic event at some point in their lives and develop PTSD, according to the National Center for PTSD.

Traumatic experiences affect about six out of 10 men and commonly includes experiences such as accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster or witnessing death or injury. About five out of every 10 women will endure trauma. For females, these events are more likely to involve sexual assault and child sexual abuse.

In a given year, approximately 12 million adults will have PTSD. Women are impacted more frequently (about eight out of every 100) compared to men (about four out of every 100).

The effects of trauma on individuals has been studied for many years, especially in relation to combat veterans. Originally referred to by other names, such as “shell shock,” PTSD emerged as a term in 1980 and the impact of any shocking and dangerous event that one witnesses or experiences can lead to PTSD.

While PTSD affects many soldiers who have fought in combat, it is now understood that it can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Some examples include automobile crashes, childhood physical abuse, shootings, assault or other violence or a natural disaster.

“It’s vital that we all realize PTSD can affect anyone,” said Prosecutor Anthony Quinn. “It is not a sign of weakness and is not something you can control.”

PTSD can also affect those close to you through secondary exposure.

It’s important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. Many people are able to fully recover without intervention.

However, if you or someone you know is struggling to function following a traumatic event, it’s time to seek help.

Here are some signs you may be experiencing PTSD:
–Distressing memories
–Avoidance of trauma reminders
–Nightmares or flashbacks
–Negative thoughts or mood
–Always being on guard for danger
–Engaging in risky behavior
–Difficulty concentrating
–Interruptions in sleep pattern

Children may experience PTSD differently, including re-enacting the event during playtime or having scary dreams. Symptoms may start within one month of the event, but sometimes those affected may not experience symptoms until years after the trauma.

It has been established that treatment, especially psychotherapy, is very effective in assisting those struggling with PTSD. However, many of those with PTSD do not get the help they need.

If someone you care about may be experiencing PTSD it’s important to ensure they feel safe both physically and emotionally. Connect them to therapy resources or encourage them to speak to their physician.

Here are some numbers to call for help:
–National Center for PTSD: 1-802-296-6300 or ncptsd@va.gov
–Trauma Survivors Network: 1-800-556-7890
–National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK
–Crisis textline: Text HOME to 741741
–National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI

Anthony D. Quinn, Dubois County Prosecuting Attorney, 57th Judicial Circuit

Tom Kleinhelter, Dubois County Sheriff

One Comment

  1. Well said. No one knew about this years back. At first associated with military service and somewhat recognized. There are a lot of folks in Dubois County with PTSD. It is real and life altering for the person afflicted and their families.

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