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Identify the Important Warning Signs | PTSD Awareness Day

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In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. Here are a few things you need to know about PTSD and warning signs to look for in your own life or the life of a loved one.

PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) results from one or more traumatic life experience that becomes embedded in one’s mind and affects one’s life. Both men and women suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is precipitated by traumatic experiences in one’s life. According to research, women who suffer from substance use disorders have a 70% or higher incidence of experiencing PTSD in their lives. Many often turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder.

PTSD symptoms can include:

• Persistent, intrusive, involuntary thoughts about a traumatic event
• Distressing dreams, nightmares or “flashbacks”
• Triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma
• Withdrawal from friends and loved ones
• Persistent hypervigilance for cues that indicate additional danger
• Unwarranted anger or negative changes in beliefs and feelings
• Depression, anxiety or fluctuating mood
• Dissociative mental experiences
• Inability to function in daily life
• Panic or exaggerated reaction to events
• Insomnia
• Inability to concentrate

Even though most people have stress reactions following traumatic events or experiences, you should seek help if symptoms:

• Last longer than three months
• Cause great distress
• Disrupt work, social or home life

Substance Use Disorder and addiction invariably impede an individual’s ability to deal with trauma. If you or a loved one is struggling, seek help for co-occurring disorders immediately.