BY ELIZABETH MILLER
June is #PostTraumaticStressDisorder Awareness month. Today, and every June 27th, is #PTSD awareness day. According to the #NationalInstituteofMentalHealth, #PTSD affected around 3.6% of the adult U.S. population in the last year.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Causes of #PTSD
In recent years awareness for #PTSD has been raised due to the prevalence among #veterans. It is important to remember that #PTSD is not limited to veterans or first responders.
“#PTSD can develop after exposure to a potentially traumatic event that is beyond a typical stressor,” states the NIMH website. “Events that may lead to #PTSD include, but are not limited to, violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat, and other forms of violence. Exposure to events like these is common. About one-half of all U.S. adults will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives, but most do not develop #PTSD.
#PTSD vs. C-#PTSD
It is not uncommon to see #PTSD and C-#PTSD referred to as just PTS and C-PTS. This is due to the belief that those with Post-traumatic stress do not have a disorder.3
“To be diagnosed with #PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least one month:”
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
- At least one avoidance symptom
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge.”
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
The Center for Treatment of #Anxiety and Mood Disorders lists the emotional and physical symptoms or C-#PTSD as:
- Rage displayed through violence, destruction of property, or theft
- #Depression, denial, fear of abandonment, thoughts of #suicide, anger issues
- Low self-esteem, panic attacks, self-loathing
- Perfectionism, blaming others instead of dealing with a situation, selective memory
- Loss of faith in humanity, distrust, #isolation, inability to form close personal relationships
- Shame, guilt, focusing on wanting revenge
- Flashbacks, memory repression, dissociation
- Eating disorders, substance abuse, alcoholism, promiscuity
- Chronic pain
- Cardiovascular problems
- Gastrointestinal problems.
Both medication, therapy, and a combination of both therapy and medication are viable treatment options for #PTSD and C-#PTSD. Individuals diagnosed with or who believe they may have #PTSD or C-#PTSD should speak to their medical practitioner or licensed #mentalhealthprofessional to determine the best treatment options for them.
#PTSD Service Dogs
Some individuals with #PTSD or C-#PTSD may utilize a psychiatric service dog. An assistance dog trained tasks to aide their handler to mitigate symptoms associated with their #PTSD is not an emotional support dog. These dogs are task trained with full public access rights.
Some tasks a psychiatric service dog may perform for a handler with #PTSD or C-#PTSD are:
- Disrupting flashbacks
- Disrupting nightmares and night terrors
- Alleviate #anxiety/distress and provide psycho-emotional grounding
- Preventing and/or disrupting panic attacks
- Intervening and/or disrupting flashbacks
- Provide a physical barrier between their handler and the public
- Alert their handler to approaching individuals
- Lead their handler to specific people
- Stop self-harm behavior
- Remind their handler to take medication
- Provide #stress-reducing pressure on trained body points
- Create a social bridge as a point of conversation
The AE’s unofficial mascot, Six, is my service dog and is task trained to mitigate symptoms of my #PTSD.
Last month my #MentalHealthAwareness Playlist was dedicated to #PTSD. I chose the songs on this list because, as someone living with C-#PTSD, each one of them resonate with me.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, know that someone is always available. No one fights alone.
Pierce County Crisis Line – Ph: 1 (800) 576-7764
#KingCounty Crisis Line – Ph: (206) 461-3222 or 1 (800) 244-5767
The #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline – 1-800-273-8255.
The #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline (ESP) –1-888-628-9454
The #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline (Deaf & Hard of Hearing Options) – 1-800-799-4889
The #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline Chat – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 in the US
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
King County Sexual Assault Resource Line: 1-888-998-6423
Pierce County Sexual Assault Center: 1-800-756-7273
National Domestic Abuse Hotline:1-800-799-7233
National Domestic Abuse Hotline (TTY): 1-800-787-3224
#DomesticAbuse Women’s Network (King County) – 425-656-7867
The #Veterans Crisis Line – 1-800-273-8255, Press 1.
Safe Call Now – 1-206-459-3020
Safe Call Now is a 24/7 helpline staffed by #firstresponders for #firstresponders and their family members. They can assist with treatment options for responders who are suffering from #mentalhealth, substance abuse, and other personal issues.
Fire/EMS Helpline: 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)
The TrevorLifeline – 1-866-488-7386.
TrevorChat can be found at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/ (available 7 days a week from 3PM to 10PM ET).
TrevorText can be reached by texting TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200 (available M-F from 3PM to 10PM ET).
The Trevor Project is a nationwide organization that provides a 24-hour phone hotline, as well as limited-hour webchat and text options, for #lesbian, #gay, #bisexual, #transgender and questioning youth.
The Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860.
The Trans Lifeline is a nonprofit organization that is created by and for the #transgender community, providing crisis intervention hotlines, staffed by #transgender individuals, available in the #UnitedStates and Canada.
Washington Recovery Help Line – 1-866-789-1511
WA Recovery Chat: http://www.warecoveryhelpline.org/chat/
The Washington Recovery Help Line is a program of Crisis Connections. We offer an anonymous, confidential 24-hour helpline for Washington State residents. Our services include crisis intervention and referral assistance related to substance use disorder, problem gambling, and #mentalhealthchallenges. Professionally-trained volunteers and staff provide emotional support and connect callers with local treatment resources or additional community services.
Reddit #Suicide support: https://www.reddit.com/r/SuicideWatch/
Suicide.org list of local helplines for all 50 states: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
#Suicide survivor support groups: http://tinyurl.com/m47k5en