June is National PTSD Awareness Month

In 2014, the U.S. Senate designated the month of June as National PTSD Awareness Month in order to make the general public aware of, and help spread the word about, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And, that there are many resources for treatment and relief for sufferers of PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when a person experiences a traumatic event and the painful memories associated with that event do not fade but, instead, persist and interfere with the normal functioning of the afflicted person’s life.

These memories, thoughts and feelings can be so real and unsettling as to cause a variety of behavioral changes in the person with PTSD. Some of these changes may be subtle and others, less so. Here’s a brief overview of signs to look for if you suspect someone is suffering from PTSD.

Flashbacks or Reliving the Event:

Memories of the event can manifest at any time either while the person is awake or as a dream or nightmare while they sleep. These memories may be triggered by external stimuli during the course of the day and may present in an array of physiological effects including increased heartrate, respiration, persperation and anxiety that was present when the event was first ‘lived through’.

Avoidance and Isolation:

Sufferers of PTSD may avoid people, places or things that can trigger the memory of a traumatic event. This may lead to an irrational fear, or anxiety, of being around people, places or things and the person may prefer to ‘stay home’ and isolate in order to protect themself.

Change in Beliefs and Feelings:

In order to protect one’s self the PTSD sufferer begins to distrust their emotions and, thereby, themself and others. This can create an ‘endless loop’ of distrust of self, and others, based on erroneous labeling of one’s emotions and the perceived intentions of others.

Hypervigilence:

As the symptoms of PTSD increase the sufferer may become overly vigilent in their surroundings much like a soldier under fire on the battle field. Always on the lookout for danger, or for the ‘shoe to drop, the sufferer’s mind and body are on overdrive and emotions are suppressed. This is perpetual ‘Freeze, Fight or Flight’ mode and is emotionally, and physically, draining on the sufferer.

Changes in Behavior:

The sufferer will, ultimately, exhibit changes in behavior toward themself and others. Feelings of guilt, shame, depression or agression may begin to cause problems on the job, with friends or with loved ones. Changes may also include use of self-soothing behaviors like heavy drinking, drug use, sexual behavior, gambling and other activities used in an attempt to relieve the internal conflict that rages within the PTSD sufferer.

What can be done?

There are extensive resources for the sufferer of PTSD; psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Hypnosis, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and others.

If you think you, or a loved one, or someone you know may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and you wish to get help, call us at 888-261-2178 or email us at help@barringtonbhw.com

For additional overview of what PTSD is, please view the video below.

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