Quality of care for Veteran’s includes raising awareness around important health topics. By highlighting some of the national health awareness campaigns each month, Veterans can get ideas, information, and resources on a variety of health matters.
June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, and a fitting time to educate veterans on what PTSD is and how to seek treatment.
It is very normal to have stress or emotional reactions after a traumatic event. Emotions and behavior can change in ways that are upsetting or unsettling to you, but they usually get better in time.
PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur in different ways. It can begin after you experience extreme trauma like combat exposure, a serious accident, an assault or abuse, natural disasters, or terrorism.
It’s estimated that 20% of the soldiers who’ve been deployed in the past 6 years have PTSD and many others can be experiencing signs of PTSD from pervious deployments.
Symptoms of PTSD may come and go over many years or disrupt your life, making it hard to deal with your daily activities. It is important to keep track of your symptoms and talk to anyone you trust about them.
Signs of PTSD can include:
• Apathy toward loved ones
• Trouble sleeping, reoccurring nightmares
• Experiencing flashbacks, bad memories of the event
• Paranoia, being scared or startled easily, feeling irritable or angry
• Uncomfortable reactions to daily activities, avoiding routine activities
• Not wanting to talk about traumatic events, general feeling of the world being dangerous
• Adverse reactions to crowds, feelings of detachment, emotional numbness, inability to concentrate
If you have any of these signs that last longer than six weeks, or have issues with work, family, or friends, it could be time to get help for PTSD. The decision to speak with someone about PTSD symptoms can be difficult, but doing so is the best way to figure out what is going on and the first step to getting better.
Seeking help for PTSD will allow you to:
• Make sense of the trauma
• Learn skills to better handle negative thoughts and feelings
• Reconnect with people you care about
• Set goals for activities, like work or school, that you can handle
Veterans who get treatment for PTSD will improve their quality of life and will learn skills to heal and get better.
Treating PTSD is a top priority for the VA. The VA has established valuable resources along with ongoing research in order to provide excellent care for Veterans with PTSD. Along with mobile applications and interactive learning tools the VA launched the AboutFace campaign which highlights Veterans' stories who have experienced PTSD and turned their lives around with treatment.
If you need help it’s important to speak with your mental health or primary care provider. They will have answers to what’s going on and the best treatment options. Treatment usually consists of counseling, medication, or a combination of both. If you take the proper steps you and your loved ones can live a better quality of life!
Below are some of the interactive learning tools for PTSD the VA provides (click to open in new tab):
PTSD Coach Online
For more information about PTSD: (click to open in new tab):