PTSD not isolated to military veterans

Typically when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) makes the news, it is in connection with a current or former member of the military.

Typically when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) makes the news, it is in connection with a current or former member of the military. What you may not know is that anyone can be affected by this mental health condition.

Millions of people worldwide experience PTSD. Any individual who has gone through a natural disaster, serious accident, violent crime or other traumatic event is susceptible to it.

About 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, according to the National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Overall, about 8 percent of men and 20 percent of women will develop PTSD.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  1. Reliving the event through nightmares, flashbacks and frightening thoughts
  2. Avoiding situations, places or objects that remind you of the event
  3. Being easily startled, feeling tense or having trouble sleeping

It is natural to have these symptoms following a traumatic event, but if they linger for more than a few weeks or become an ongoing problem, you may be experiencing PTSD.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, risk factors for PTSD include:

  • Living through dangerous events and traumas
  • Having a history of mental illness
  • Getting hurt
  • Seeing people hurt or killed
  • Feeling horror, helplessness or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after a traumatic event
  • Dealing with additional stress after a traumatic event, such as losing a loved one, pain and injury, or losing a job or home

Those who have experienced a traumatic event may reduce their risk of PTSD by:

  • Seeking support from friends and family
  • Joining a support group
  • Feeling good about actions taken in the face of danger
  • Having a coping strategy, or a finding a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
  • Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear

Not every traumatized person develops PTSD. Symptoms must persist for more than a month to be considered PTSD. A psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose PTSD after talking with the person who is showing symptoms of it.

Treatments for PTSD

The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medications or both. Because everyone is different, a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Anyone experiencing PTSD should be treated by a mental health care provider with PTSD experience. Some people may need to try different treatments to determine which works for their symptoms.

“Life is dealing with success and adversity in a way that brings you through both with a positive outcome” – Josh Bleill, USMC veteran and double-amputee

Hear Josh’s story of courage as an active duty marine and how he persevered after the loss of both his legs while conducting combat patrol in Fallujah, Iraq. Josh discovered that life begins when we embrace our “bad days” and keep going forward, one step at a time.

Go Confidently: A Conversation with Josh Bleill
Sept. 17, 6-9 p.m.
The Olmstead
Register online


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