"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Friday, June 27, 2014

PTSD Awareness Day, June 27

The Wall - Survivor's Guilt

Understanding PTSD —Signs and Symptoms

by Richard Taite

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day – a day that was created to help our communities understand some of the sacrifice our military veterans have made in service to our country. 

For the lay reader who may not know a lot about PTSD, here’s some general information that may aid you in better understanding those who suffer from it.

What is PTSD?

According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. This may be abuse (as a child or adult), terrorist attack, combat, serious accident or natural disaster. About 61 % of men and 51% or women experience trauma in their lives. Of those experiencing trauma, 8% of men and 20% of women will develop PTSD.

What are Some Symptoms of PTSD?
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Feeling on alert, increased jumpiness, trouble sleeping
  • Sadness or depression
  • Crying spells, loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy, wanting to be alone all the time
  • Guilt & shame
  • Feeling responsible for the event, guilt that you survived the trauma that others did not
  • Anger & irritability
  • Lashing out at family, less patience with own kids, overreacting to small misunderstandings
  • Behavior changes
  • Alcohol abuse, using drugs, smoking too much, driving aggressively, neglecting health
  • Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing)
  • Nightmares and triggers that cause memories
  • Avoiding situations that hold reminders of the event
  • Crowds may feel dangerous, avoid driving if the trauma was a vehicle accident, keeping busy to avoid thinking or talking about event, feeling numb or feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousall)

Who Suffers Most Often from PTSD?
  • Women and minorities
  • Those with little education
  • Those that have suffered an earlier trauma or life-threatening event
  • Those that have another mental health problem or a family history of such
  • Those with little support from family and friends
  • Those with recent stressful life changes

How do I Know if I Have PTSD or if Someone I Love Does?

PTSD is diagnosed by a mental health professional, usually in one to two sessions. There are also a number of screening tools that everyday people can use to help them. These tools can guide a person toward the kind of help they may need to feel better.

Can PTSD be Cured?

“Being cured” or “getting better” are terms that mean different things to different people. But there are different therapies that can help people with PTSD live normal lives and get the support and help they need to feel better. Those therapies include:

Psychotherapy. There are a few different methods for helping those with PTSD, but most are done while meeting with a professional therapist once a week for 3-6 months.

Alternative Therapies. These may include writing, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, massage and other therapies that aid in physical healing as well as emotional.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Do you have an opinion, or a comment, you would like to share about this post? Click on the comment button.


  1. I wonder how many people know about this day?

  2. I don't know, but I'm going to do my part to see that more do know about it! Please share the post to those you think would benefit from reading it. Thank you!

  3. With the numbers growing daily and over 8,000 veterans committing suicide each year (of which over 70% is over age 50)...this situation will not go away but only get worse. To properly treat PTSD the success rate on an outpatient basis is not the solution.
    This website is worth a look CJ www.intervere.com. This soldier is well equipped to assist both veteran and their family. He and several others are putting together a private facility for veterans run with veterans for veterans experienced in PTSD and other mental disorders...
    I sincerely appreciate all of your efforts and if I can assist you in any way please let me know...

  4. Thank you for the information, Alex, and for your thoughtful comments. I will definitely look into it and maybe even put the link on the blog for the veterans to visit.


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