(contributed by Trisha Nelson, MSW, LCSW)
While the entire month of June is dedicated to raising awareness about post -traumatic stress disorder, June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day. Many times when thinking about PTSD, we often think about our veterans. This is due to the alarming rate at which our veterans experience symptoms of PTSD. Ultimately, anyone who has experienced a traumatic event could be suffering from symptoms of PTSD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Traumatic events are marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death. Traumatic events affect survivors, rescue workers, and the friends and relatives of victims who have been involved.” (www.cdc.gov/masstrauma/factsheets/public/coping.pdf)
Persons who experience symptoms of PTSD will have re-experiences (i.e. nightmares or flashbacks), likely avoid stimuli that remind them of the trauma, and find that negative thoughts or feelings appear to have increased following the traumatic event (i.e. blaming self or others, inability to recall details, negative thoughts/assumptions about the world.) Other symptoms may include a heightened arousal or reactivity response such as irritability, startling easily, and lack of concentration). Remember that everyone responds differently to trauma. Protective factors for PTSD include having social support and spirituality, coping with stress effectively, being resourceful or having good problem solving abilities, and actively seeking help.
If you or someone you know might be struggling with symptoms of PTSD, the Behavioral Wellness Center is here to help. Call 217-784-4540 or learn more at www.gibsonhospital.org/services-and-conditions/profile/mental-health.
The following link from the National Alliance on Mental Illness includes tools for managing Traumatic Stress: www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/January-2019/7-Tools-for-Managing-Traumatic-Stress.