Did you know that June is National PTSD Awareness Month? PTSD Awareness Month is a national campaign devoted to encouraging open dialog about PTSD and PTSD awareness. People may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when they are exposed to or witness something traumatic like war, physical violence, sexual violence, accidents, and other such traumatic occurrences. After those events, a person may start suffering from symptoms, if they were unable to process what happened to them or what they witnessed. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 7.7 million adults in the U.S. live with PTSD. PTSD can be debilitating, but with proper care and support, it is possible to live a healthy and positive life. If you have been diagnosed or feel that you may be experiencing symptoms, find a support system and a way to cope to help alleviate symptoms.
Numerous studies have suggested that meditation can minimize the symptoms of PTSD by reducing stress hormones and calming the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our fight-or-flight response. Connect with nature by taking a walk without digital distractions, or try guided meditations that help with visualization.
Physical activities like surfing can be an effective coping strategy. According to researchers, activity helps achieve a focused state of mind, in which all other thoughts and emotions are disregarded.
A number of studies show that adopting a trained animal can improve PTSD related symptoms like depression, anxiety, and nightmares. Research also suggests that spending as little as a single week with a specially trained animal can improve symptoms by 82%.
Journaling has been known to improve cognitive function. Practice free-writing as a way to investigate thoughts and feelings. Another more structured technique is jotting down a daily gratitude list. Research shows that cultivating gratitude not only reduces stress but also has the potential to help individuals build resilience to overcome trauma.
Join A Support Group
Peer support groups are beneficial because they provide reassurance. It is always comforting to know that you aren’t alone. You can easily search for a support group near you through ADAA’s support group listings.
It is highly recommended that you seek out a specialist trained in trauma. If you are unsure where to find professionals who specialize in PTSD, begin by looking for mental health professionals in your area. Your family physician or specialists are also a wonderful resource for a professional referral.
PTSD Awareness Day is observed every year on June 27th.