May 26, 2022

Join us in raising awareness about PTSD

Image with the words, June is PTSD awareness month not all wounds are visible

In 1943, General George S. Patton infamously assaulted two soldiers in separate incidents after visiting injured men in different Army hospitals. These soldiers drew Patton’s wrath because, instead of having physical injuries, they had “battle fatigue” or what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The assumption made by Patton and many others at the time was that PTSD wasn’t a “real” condition and the men were cowards.

Fortunately, since then, PTSD has become more understood and recognized by medical professionals and the public, although misconceptions and stigma still remain. To help educate the public about this mental health condition and available treatments, PTSD Awareness Month is observed each June.

What is PTSD?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD “is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.” You can even be affected by hearing about an event or reading about it in the news.

Who does PTSD affect?

In the U.S., there are about 3 million cases of PTSD each year; about 7 to 9 percent of the population will have PTSD in their lifetime. It affects individuals of all ages and races, although some groups are more likely to experience PTSD including women, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

While it’s normal to be upset, on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event, most people start feeling better after a few weeks. However, if these feelings continue for many months, or if symptoms develop later on, an individual may have PTSD. These symptoms can include:

  • Reliving the event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares.
  • Avoiding anything that might be a reminder of the trauma.
  • Increased anger, irritability, or difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

Left untreated, PTSD can be disruptive and interfere with day-to-day activities and functioning. Complex PTSD can also lead to thoughts of hopelessness, uselessness, and suicide.

Is PTSD treatable?

Yes, PTSD is treatable! If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, work closely with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan. The primary treatment is psychotherapy but may also include medications to help manage symptoms.

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis brought on by PTSD or another mental health condition, these local resources are available to help:

Colorado Crisis Services Hotline
Call 844-493-8255, or text “TALK” to 38255
For more, see coloradocrisisservices.org

AspenPointe Crisis Stabilization Unit
Crisis line: 719-635-7000
Walk-in crisis stabilization unit: 115 S. Parkside Drive (where individuals may seek immediate help)

What can I do to spread awareness about PTSD?

Although we’ve come a long way since 1943, raising awareness and providing education about PTSD is still important. Begin by educating yourself and sharing facts with friends and family on social media and elsewhere. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a calendar of ways to help spread the word throughout the month of June. You can view it at June PTSD Awareness Month Calendar (va.gov).

If you or someone you know has PTSD, The Independence Center can help connect you with resources and services in our community. Call us at 719-471-8181.