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PTSD: Who does it really affect?

by Palmer Rodenhaber, Alvernia University, citizen contributor

Nov 15, 2018
Mental Health & Society

What is PTSD? Do you know someone who suffers from it? Commonly referred to as PTSD, this abbreviation stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This condition affects many people, some that you would never guess or be able to pinpoint. The website  www.sidran.org talks about PTSD statistics in Americans. Some of the facts from the site include that 70 percent of adults in America have experienced a traumatic event in their life, while 20 percent of those people go on to develop PTSD. Another one of the facts is that approximately 5 percent of all Americans (about 13 million people), have PTSD at any given time. A lot of people don’t know or have any idea that a friend, loved one, or someone around them suffered from the disorder.

What is commonly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of PTSD? Most will say the military. Reason being that persons in these roles are more likely to be affected through some sort of traumatic event in daily activity. My Uncle was in Vietnam and he suffered from it. He never showed signs of it, but not all of those who suffer will show signs. He talked to my father about it earlier this year before passing in late September. The only thing he ever told me was, “I just remember sliding down the rope and having bullets fly right by my head, then my feet hit the ground and I was like wow!” I could not believe what I had heard, but I also cannot imagine having to go through something like that.

According to www.ptsd.va.gov, of those who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) 11-20 percent experience PTSD. For the Gulf Storm (Desert Storm) about 12 percent have suffered from it. As for those who served in Vietnam about 15 percent suffer from the disorder. As far as the U.S. population goes, about 10 percent of women suffer compared to that of men, which only 4 percent suffer from it. You may ask why do civilians suffer, or what causes them to suffer? Some of the more common things could be a car accident, a loved one passing, some sort of assault, physical or emotional abuse, or anything that could cause a long lasting effect on a person. Although it is a very dark and hard disorder to overcome there is still a way out, and there is still help out there.

For those out there who want to help, or are concerned about someone there is a way to help. There are few symptoms to recognize according to www.anxiety.org, and they are intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. Another site stated that three of the symptoms they noticed were red flags were, re-living the event, avoiding reminders of the event, and being on guard (www.sidran.org). The same site talks about treatments to take which are psychotherapy and medication (www.sidran.org). It also recommends that those suffering should first try to find someone like a healthcare professional, social worker, or even someone you know, that way you can get the help you deserve. PTSD can affect anyone, and also impacts those around the person who is dealing with the trauma. Help yourself, and help others to heal.

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