June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. Today, and every June 27, is PTSD Awareness Day. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD has affected about 3.6% of the American adult population in the past year.
Causes of PTSD
In recent years, awareness of PTSD has increased due to its prevalence among veterans. It is important to remember that PTSD is not limited to veterans or first responders.
“PTSD can develop after exposure to a potentially traumatic event that exceeds a typical stressor,” says the NIMH website. “Events that can lead to PTSD include, but are not limited to, violent personal assault, natural or man-made disasters, accidents, fighting and other forms of violence. Exposure to events like these is common. About half of all American adults will experience at least one traumatic event in their life, but most do not develop PTSD.
PTSD vs C-PTSD
“PTSD is a psychiatric disorder caused by severe life-threatening trauma, such as witnessing death or a natural disaster. Complex PTSD describes a more serious, long-term condition that can occur after prolonged and repeated trauma, especially in childhood, ”says the Australian government website, HealthDirect.
It is not uncommon to see PTSD and C-PTSD simply referred to as PTS and C-PTS. This is due to the belief that people with post traumatic stress disorder do not have a disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD
“To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least one month:”
- At least one symptom of re-experience
- Flashbacks – relive the trauma over and over again, including physical symptoms like a pounding heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Scary thoughts
- At least one symptom of avoidance
- Stay away from places, events or objects that recall the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
- At least two symptoms of arousal and responsiveness
- Be easily surprised
- Feeling tense or “on edge”.
- Have difficulty sleeping
- Have outbursts of anger
- At least two cognitive and mood symptoms
- Difficulty remembering the main characteristics of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about yourself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Symptoms of C-PTSD
The Mood and Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center lists emotional and physical symptoms or C-PTSD as:
- Rage manifested by violence, destruction of property or theft
- Depression, denial, fear of abandonment, suicidal thoughts, anger problems
- Low self-esteem, panic attacks, self-loathing
- Perfectionism, blaming others instead of dealing with a situation, selective memory
- Loss of faith in humanity, mistrust, isolation, inability to form close personal relationships
- Shame, guilt, focus on the desire for revenge
- Flashbacks, memory repression, dissociation
- Eating disorders, drug addiction, alcoholism, promiscuity
- Chronic pain
- Cardiovascular problems
- Gastrointestinal problems.
Medication, therapy, and a combination of therapy and medication are viable treatment options for PTSD and C-PTSD. People who have been diagnosed or think they have PTSD or PTSD-C should speak with their doctor or a licensed mental health professional to determine the best treatment options for them.
PTSD Assistance Dogs
Some people with PTSD or C-PTSD may use a psychiatric service dog. Service Dog Trained Tasks To Help His Handler Alleviate Symptoms Associated With His PTSD Is not an emotional support dog. These dogs are task trained with full public access rights.
Some tasks that a psychiatric service dog can perform for a handler with PTSD or C-PTSD are:
- Disturbing flashbacks
- Disruptive nightmares and night terrors
- Relieve anxiety / distress and provide psycho-emotional anchoring
- Prevent and / or interrupt panic attacks
- Intervene and / or disrupt flashbacks
- Provide a physical barrier between their owner and the audience
- Alert your master of approaching people
- Direct their manager to specific people
- Stop self-injurious behaviors
- Remind his master to take his medication
- Provide stress reducing pressure on the trained body points
- Create a social bridge as a point of conversation
AE’s unofficial mascot Six is my service dog and is trained to alleviate the symptoms of my PTSD.
Last month my mental health awareness reading list was dedicated to PTSD. I chose the songs from this list because, as a person living with C-PTSD, each of them resonates with me.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, know that someone is always available. No one fights alone.
Pierce County Crisis Line – Tel. : 1 (800) 576-7764
King County Crisis Line – Ph: (206) 461-3222 or 1 (800) 244-5767
The national lifeline for suicide prevention – 1-800-273-8255.
The national lifeline for suicide prevention (ESP) –1-888-628-9454
The national lifeline for suicide prevention (Options for the deaf and hard of hearing) – 1-800-799-4889
The national lifeline for suicide prevention To discuss – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Crisis text line – Text HOME to 741741 in the United States
The Trevor lifeline – 1-866-488-7386.
TrevorChat can be found at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/ (available 7 days a week from 3 p.m. To 10 p.m. HEY).
TrevorText can be contacted by sending an SMS to TREVOR 1-202-304-1200 (available MF from 3 p.m. To 10 p.m. HEY).
The Trevor project is a national organization that provides a 24-hour helpline, as well as time-limited online chat and text options, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
The Trans Life Line – 1-877-565-8860.
The Trans lifeline is a non-profit organization created by and for the transgender community, providing crisis intervention helplines, staffed by transgender people, available in the United States and Canada.
The Veterans Crisis Line – 1-800-273-8255, Press 1.
Call Securely Now – 1-206-459-3020 Safe Call Now is a 24/7 first responder helpline for first responders and their families. They can help with treatment options for caregivers who suffer from mental health, addiction and other personal issues.
Fire helpline / EMS: 1-888-731-FEU (3473)
Copline: 1-800-COPLINE / 1-800-267-5463
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
King County Sexual Assault Resource Line: 1-888-998-6423
Pierce County Sexual Assault Center: 1-800-756-7273
National Hotline Against Domestic Abuse: 1-800-799-7233
National Hotline Against Domestic Abuse (ATS): 1-800-787-3224
Network of women victims of domestic violence (King County) – 425-656-7867
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Helpline: (800) 422-4453
National security line for fugitives: 1-800-Run-Away (1-800-786-2929)
National Center for Eating Disorders Helpline: (800) 931-2237
Open MF, 9 pm-9pm
SAMHSA National Helpline: (800) 662-4357
Washington Recovery Helpline – 1-866-789-1511
WA recovery cat: http://www.warecoveryhelpline.org/chat/
The Washington Recovery Help Line is a Crisis connections. We provide 24 hour anonymous and confidential telephone support for residents of Washington State. Our services include crisis intervention and referral assistance related to substance use disorders, problem gambling and mental health issues. Professionally trained volunteers and staff provide emotional support and connect callers with local treatment resources or additional community services.
Reddit Suicide Support: https://www.reddit.com/r/SuicideWatch/
Suicide.org list of local helplines for the 50 states: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
Suicide Survivor Support Groups: http://tinyurl.com/m47k5en
211 and WA211.org: 2-1-1 connects callers, free of charge, to essential health and human services in their community.