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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Help Raise Awareness About PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects 3.5 percent of of adults in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Of those cases, 36.6 percent are considered severe. The National Center for PTSD reports that there are four major symptoms of the disorder:
  • Reliving the event, or re-experiencing symptoms (i.e. nightmares, flashbacks, and triggers).
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. (i.e. crowds and/or activities).
  • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings (i.e. isolation and general distrust in others).
  • Feeling keyed up, also called hyperarousal (i.e. trouble sleeping or concentrating).
People who work in the field of addiction medicine are no strangers to cases involving PTSD. It is quite common among combat veterans with battle stress or people who have experienced a sexual assault to cope with their PTSD by using mind altering substances, such as drugs and alcohol. It is a method of treatment fraught with peril, often leading to dependence and/or a substance use disorder.

Using drugs and alcohol to manage one’s symptoms may provide some temporary relief for a period time. However, those who engage in self-medication are often unaware that drugs and alcohol make their PTSD, or any other form of mental illness worse in the end. It is quite common for those who self-medicate their PTSD to make a suicide attempt. It is crucial that such realities be conveyed to those suffering from any mental health disorders, lest they make a choice that cannot be taken back.

June is National PTSD Awareness Month. At the end of the month, on June 27th, the National Center for PTSD is asking everyone to have a hand in helping those suffering from PTSD get the help they require. If you have a social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter, please take a moment to spread the word about PTSD by sharing an informative guide.

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