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Quality of Care

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PTSD Awareness Month

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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 we want to raise awareness on this serious condition that affects many war veterans.  PTSD is a type of anxiety that occurs in many different ways. It can begin after you experience extreme trauma, some examples are: exposure to combat, being involved in a serious accident, an assault or abuse, a natural disaster, or an act of terrorism.

It’s estimated that at least 20% of the soldiers who have been deployed in the past 6 years have experienced some type of PTSD and many other Vets can be experiencing signs of PTSD from previous deployments.  PTSD is the third most common mental condition among veterans who use the VA hospital system.

Someone experiencing PTSD may feel afraid or feel like they have no control over the situation surrounding them.  Most people have stress-related reactions after a traumatic event; but, not everyone gets PTSD.  If your reactions don't go away over time and they disrupt your daily life, you may be experiencing PTSD.

Some of the symptoms associated with PTSD are:

• Lack of feelings or emotions toward loved ones
• Problems sleeping, reoccurring nightmares
• Having flashbacks, bad memories of the event
• Paranoia, being scared or startled easily, feeling irritable or mad
• 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

Fortunately the VA offers tremendous support and treatment options such as counseling therapy that has proven to be very effective in patients with PTSD.  Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is one such therapy.  It gives you or a loved one experiencing PTSD a new way to handle these distressing thoughts and to gain an understanding of the traumatic event.  CPT can teach you why recovery from traumatic events has been difficult and how going through disturbing events has changed the way you look at the world, yourself, and others. The way we think and look at things directly affects how we feel and act and the VA is here to help you overcome any challenges you may face.

People who seek help or get medical treatment for PTSD can greatly improve quality of life but more than half do not take the important first step of telling someone how they feel.  It is very important to talk to your doctor if you or a loved one experience any signs or symptoms that maybe be related to PTSD or are not feeling well.  During the month of June check in with your doctor and take the first step to let them know how you feel!

Below are resources that can help you and your family learn more about PTSD.

Resources  (click links below to open in new tab)

VA’s National Center for PTSD

Where to Get Help for PTSD

Symptom Checklist: Where to Begin

VA’s PTSD Coach Online

VA’s Pledge Form to Help Raise PTSD Awareness  (PDF)