This month is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Month (PTSD), and June 27th is PTSD Day. PTSD can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event such as combat, assault or disaster. Most people have some form of stress reaction after a trauma. If reactions do not stop over time or disrupt your life, then there is a possibility you have PTSD. The National Center for PTSD is dedicated to trauma and PTSD research and education. The center ensures the latest research findings help those who have been exposed to trauma.
PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about traumatic events, triggered emotional responses that lead to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for cues that indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.
I have my own story of trauma that drove me to seek help. Many years ago, I was driving my two young children to school and heading to work. My children were in the back seat, when suddenly a young boy the same age as my son ran in front of my car. In a split second, my life changed forever. I could see this small figure to my right side. I could not stop or turn my car to the side to avoid him. I knew my car was going to hit him.
On impact, I immediately went into shock and I could hear my children crying and screaming in the back seat because they heard me screaming. In slow motion, I watched the horrific accident unfold, locking eyes with this baby as he was thrown on top of my hood. My eyes were the last thing he saw before I hit my breaks to keep him from going under my car. He was thrown four feet from the car.
I could not stop screaming, move or talk. As God would have it, someone I knew passed by the accident, stopped and helped me get a blanket out of my car to cover the child and call an ambulance. A teacher from the school across the street from the accident helped calm me and my children down and called my husband.
Four days after the accident, the little boy died and I was traumatized beyond my understanding. I could not sleep because I relived the accident over and over, pressing on my breaks and screaming. After a month of sleepless nights and not eating, I went and got help for my trauma. I thank God I did. Even though I was emotionally traumatized, with help, I was able to cope and understand my feelings of guilt and helplessness and received the tools I needed to cope and move forward.
Whether you are a man, woman or child, PTSD can and will impact your life if you do not get treatment for trauma. It is a misnomer that only veterans suffer from PTSD. There is also help available from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) that raises awareness about child traumatic stress. The NCTSN joins this effort to raise awareness about PTSD. They offer the resources to help educate individuals, families, professionals, policy makers and communities about the significant impact that PTSD has on men, women and children. Effective psychological interventions and drug treatments are available to assist those who suffer with PTSD to heal from their traumas and lead healthy, productive lives.
The Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress (PILOTS) Database is an electronic index to the worldwide literature on PTSD and other mental health consequences of exposure to traumatic events. Unlike other databases, the PILOTS Database does not restrict its coverage to articles appearing in selected journals. It attempts to include all publications relevant to PTSD and other forms of traumatic stress, whatever their origin without disciplinary, linguistic or geographic limitations.
The PILOTS Database is produced by the National Center for PTSD, and is electronically available to the public. There is no charge for using the database, and no account or password is required. Although it is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the PILOTS Database is not limited to literature on PTSD among veterans.
For more PTSD information:
Call: (802) 296-6300
If you know someone who needs help with PTSD and can benefit from this information, please share.