June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. Here are some facts from the PTSD Journal:
- PTSD is our body’s reaction to a traumatic event. Symptoms are both physical and psychological.
- Symptoms may include: nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood.
- Symptoms can appear years later. Symptoms must last for at least three months, but onset can begin months or years after the traumatic event occurs.
- More women than men are diagnosed with PTSD. This is partly due to women seeking help and their PTSD manifesting itself in more emotional ways. Men experience more traumatic events, yet may be reluctant to address them.
- Treatment can involve medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Therapy has proven very helpful and effective.
- Physical exercise has proven very beneficial at minimizing PTSD symptoms. Physical exercise is helpful for many psychological disorders, though often not prescribed.
- Everyone has a different threshold for coping with catastrophic stressors. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD.
- What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely. Practicing good mental health and stress reduction habits can minimize the onset or intensity of PTSD.
Sources: Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD Journal