June is PTSD Awareness Month. PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a disease that inflicts harm on an enormous number of people from all walks of life. Unless it’s properly diagnosed and treated, it can haunt a person throughout his or her life, creating evermore difficult situations and circumstances. As with any awareness effort, PTSD Awareness Month should include sharing information that may help people understand what this disease is all about and what can be done to fight it.
SoCal Empowered has been providing PTSD treatment in Orange County for people from for several years. We have seen how this disease can ravage the life not only of the person who suffers from it, but also the lives of family members and loved ones in general. Below you’ll find some updated statistics from when we discussed PTSD Awareness Month in 2021, along with warning signs, symptoms and possible steps to take if you want to help someone else. Please contact us if you or a loved one is in need of help in this regard.
Updated PTSD Statistics
Based on statistics available in 2021 provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 8 million people in the United States suffered from PTSD at any given time. The same department offered statistics that showed a higher number of people who suffered from PTSD in 2020. In that year, approximately 13 million people suffered from some form of PTSD.
Unfortunately, PTSD, like many other mental health challenges, often goes unreported and undiagnosed for a variety of reasons. Most experts tend to agree that the actual number of people suffering from this condition is higher, and perhaps much higher. Putting that aside, it’s safe to assume that nearly everyone has someone in his or her life that either is suffering or has suffered from PTSD at some point.
A Common PTSD Myth
Generally speaking, people associate PTSD with soldiers who have seen combat. While it is most certainly accurate that combat veterans suffer from PTSD at a very high rate, PTSD is not a mental health challenge that’s limited to people with this background. This misplaced belief could be one of the reasons that PTSD is so often overlooked in people who are suffering from it.
PTSD stems from either an extremely traumatic event or a series of traumatic events, and military combat certainly qualifies in that regard. However, any other form of trauma can ultimately lead to the appearance of PTSD in a person. Examples of these traumatic events include:
- Natural disasters
- Traffic accidents
- Physical abuse
- Mental or emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Violent crimes
- Water-based accidents
- Extreme marital problems such as infidelity or spousal abuse
To be clear, someone need not actually experience a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events themselves in order to ultimately develop PTSD. A person only needs to have witnessed such an event or events for PTSD to become a possibility thereafter.
Warning Signs of PTSD in Others
If you’re concerned that someone you care about may be suffering from PTSD, then hopefully PTSD Awareness Month will help you recognize some of the common warning signs and prompt you to take some form of action for that person. Examples of these warning signs include:
- The person withdraws from social situations.
- He or she tends to show signs of panic during certain situations.
- Your loved one shows a pattern of becoming extremely irritable and agitated at certain times.
- He or she may show outward signs of fear, such as trembling or profuse sweating.
- This person does not want to talk about what’s happening when this occurs.
- He or she may even quickly flee a seemingly innocuous situation.
- His or her sleep patterns may be disrupted.
- Your loved one may suffer through changes in appetite.
While there is no template for warning signs of PTSD in others, there are some physical and otherwise outward manifestations of an episode occurring. Basically, you should trust your instincts, and if you sense that something is wrong, then you should pay close attention to that person. This is particularly true if you’re aware that the person you care about has experienced some sort of traumatic event or events in his or her past.
PTSD Awareness Month or Not… What Should I Do?
Approaching someone who may have PTSD in order to convince them to get help is not an easy task. If you are concerned about someone in this regard, you should set your mind to tread lightly and to convey compassion and empathy more than anything else as you travel down this path. People who suffer from PTSD generally know that something is wrong, whether or not they have identified the specific problem. Those in this position tend to be defensive when someone else points out concerns.
Overall, you should let a person you’re concerned about know that you are in fact concerned, and you should simply ask what’s happening in a non-judgmental way. Allow this person the opportunity to carry the conversation and to open up in hopes that you’ll be able to learn more about his or her potential PTSD symptoms. This may provide you with a pathway to help this person seek out the treatment he or she needs.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
If you or someone you love may be suffering from PTSD, now is the time to get help, whether the calendar says it’s PTSD Awareness Month or not. For those who are unsure of what this disease is all about, we urge you to learn as much as possible about it, as doing so could help you help someone who is in need.
If you’re unsure of how to proceed, you can always contact our team of Orange County mental health professionals. We’re here to listen to your story and to help you set a course towards the help that you or this loved one needs. Contact us today to get this process started.