Along with June being men’s health month, it is also PTSD awareness month. For those of you who don’t know, PTSD stands for posttraumatic stress disorder and is caused by someone experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. This could include but is not limited to combat veterans, sexual assault survivors, or those who have seen a natural disaster. Anything traumatic to that specific person could potentially lead to PTSD.
Many people have been through or seen something traumatic and have had to deal with it. Whether that’s going to therapy, taking medications, or just giving it time, most will start feeling better. When symptoms get worse or last for months to years and affect one’s daily life, this could be an issue and be PTSD. Symptoms are grouped into four main categories. These include intrusive memories, which could be reliving the trauma, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions, such as being easily startled or frightened.
Talking to a medical or mental health provider about treatment options is essential for someone dealing with PTSD to start seeing a reduction of symptoms and improvement in overall functioning. Treatment for PTSD is different for everyone but can include cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication as well as alternative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, and animal-assisted therapy.
Having PTSD can bring about personal shame and grief and can make it more difficult to talk to someone about your trauma. However, you deserve to heal and feel whole and safe again. If you feel you have any symptoms that could be PTSD, please reach out to someone. There will be links to help at the bottom of this page.
Until next time,
Helpful PTSD hotline numbers include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (also affiliated with Mental Health America): (800) 273-TALK (8255). Available any time of day or night, 365 days a year, this toll-free PTSD helpline has trained volunteers standing by to provide crisis intervention, to offer support for people in distress, and to give information and referrals to people with PTSD and their loved ones.
- Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-TALK (8255) and press “1”. This toll-free hotline is available for veterans and their loved ones. You can also send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential, free support and referrals.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741. This service is available 24/7 and provides free crisis support and information via text.
- National Hopeline Network: (800) 442-HOPE (4673). Available 365 days a year, volunteers who staff this toll-free hotline are specially trained in crisis intervention to provide support, information, and referrals to people in need. You can also access services via chat by pressing the “Chat Now” button on its website.
- PTSD Foundation of America, Veteran Line: (877) 717-PTSD (7873). Providing referrals, information, and helpful resources to veterans and their families, this toll-free hotline is available 24/7.
- Lifeline for Vets: (888) 777-4443. Also geared toward veterans and their families, this toll-free PTSD helpline provides crisis intervention, referrals, and information.