Maj. Demietrice Pittman, PhD
Eisenhower Army Medical CenterThe month of June each year is designated as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Month to bring awareness to those with PTSD and to encourage people to reach out to their fellow citizens to provide support and remove the stigma associated with this disorderWhat is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault. PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as "shell shock" during the years of World War I and "combat fatigue" after World War II. PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. It can occur in all people, in people of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and any age." PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD.What are PTSD symptoms?
Everyone is an individual, and everyone reacts to situations differently but individuals with PTSD may feel as though they are reliving the event either through bad memories or nightmares. They may also try to avoid memories or situations that remind them of the event. Another common symptom is experiencing a persistent negative emotional state or feeling detached from others. People often feel keyed up or have sleep problems.If you feel that you, or a loved one, has any issues similar to PTSD you should:
• Talk to your family doctor.
• Talk to a mental health professional, such as a therapist.
• Contact to your local VA facility or Vet Center
• Speak with a close friend or family member who can support you while finding help
• Discuss your situation with a clergy memberActive duty, veteran, and retirees can always contact the VA's crisis helpline at 800-273-8255, or via text at 838255. They can also use their 24/7 Confidential Veterans Chat, www.veteranscrisisline.net.
"There are several treatments that have been proven to help effectively treat PTSD,' Capt. Jennifer Iveland, clinical psychologist and Chief of the Clinical Psychology Internship Program at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. "The Internship Program has developed programs to train new psychologists on the evidence- based treatments through our Graduate Medical Education programs."You don't have to be teetering on the edge to contact help. Sometimes it just helps to talk to somebody who has been in a similar situation and gotten through it, you can get through it too, sometimes all it takes is talking about it.Additional PTSD resources:
• Department of Behavioral Health, 706-787-3143 or 706-787-8134.
• VA National Center for PTSD,
• National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/ptsd-listing.shtml.
• National Alliance on Mental Illness, Augusta chapter, namiaugusta.org.