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27 Things You Should Know about PTSD

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Getting help for PTSD is problem solving, not a sign of weakness. Take the step.

Compiled by Rebecca Matteo, PhD, Web Content Manager, VA’s National Center for PTSD
Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day

To mark PTSD Awareness Day, here is a list of “27 Things to Know” about post-traumatic stress disorder. The list is compiled from our experts at VA’s National Center for PTSD. The Center conducts research and provides education on trauma and PTSD.

  1. Just because someone experiences a traumatic event does not mean they have PTSD.
  2. No matter how long it’s been since your trauma, treatment can help.
  3. To know whether you have PTSD, you should get an assessment from a clinician.
  4. Sexual assault is more likely to result in symptoms of PTSD than are other types of trauma, including combat.
  5. Social support is one of the greatest protective factors against developing PTSD after trauma.
  6. Research suggests that social support is an even more important resilience factor for women than men.
  7. Trouble sleeping is a core feature of PTSD, so it is important to address sleep problems in PTSD treatment.
  8. Getting help for PTSD early can prevent problems from expanding to other parts of your life.
  9. Evidence-based treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy (or “counseling”) and medications.
  10. Many people with PTSD also experience chronic pain or other physical health symptoms.
  11. PTSD often co-occurs with depression or other mental health symptoms.

VA Can Help with the Answers to These Questions

  1. Having PTSD does not mean you’re “crazy.”
  2. PTSD does not cause someone to be violent.
  3. If you have PTSD, you are not alone. With treatment, you can get better.
  4. In the general population, women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD at some point in their lifetime.
  5. Recent research shows that men and women who served in Iraq (OIF) or Afghanistan (OEF) have similar rates of PTSD.
  6. Many people recover completely from PTSD with treatment.
  7. If someone in your family has PTSD, family therapy can help you learn to communicate and cope together.
  8. People who have PTSD also have a higher risk for substance use disorders.
  9. PTSD treatment has been shown to decrease suicidal ideation.
  10. Treatment is important for the person experiencing PTSD, but it also helps the family and improves relationships.
  11. PTSD therapists help you understand your thoughts and feelings so you have more control over them.
  12. Research suggests that variations in a number of genes may be risk factors for developing PTSD after trauma.
  13. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD have some common symptoms, but they are different diagnoses.
  14. Technology, like the PTSD Coach mobile app, can help you manage PTSD symptoms.
  15. VA provides PTSD care at every VA medical center and at many of the larger community-based clinics.
  16. Getting help for PTSD is problem solving, not a sign of weakness. Take the step.

We hope you find these words from our experts helpful. To learn more, visit: www.ptsd.va.gov.

Veteran talking in a video freeze frame

Many people recover completely from PTSD with treatment.

Veterans with PTSD Have Advice for You

Know that you are not alone. Learn about PTSD from Veterans who live with it every day in AboutFace, an online video gallery of Veterans.

About Face is the drill command to start going in another direction.

Let these brave Veterans give you advice about getting the help you need:

Robert Murphy: “Don’t wait 20, 30 years.”

Timm Lovitt: “Even if you don’t think you need the help, try it.”

Josh Hansen: “Definitely get the help before it’s too late.”

Hear their stories. Find out how PTSD treatment turned their lives around.