Today is PTSD Awareness Day


Today is PTSD Awareness Day and this Military Family Resource Can Help You

By Christine Leccese, MPH

Image courtesy of dodlive.mil
Image courtesy of dodlive.mil

Friday, June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day. What better way to recognize this day than to see if you or someone you love has symptoms of posttraumatic stress? Service members, veterans, and their families can take a free PTSD self-assessment at www.MindBodyStrength.org.

Does posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) play a role in your life? Statistics show that between 11% and 20% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD, and the impact of one person’s PTSD can be far reaching. If you have a family member with PTSD, you know how the symptoms can impact the people around him or her.

If a child sees a parent getting extremely upset by small annoyances, he may go out of his way not to upset that parent. He develops his own “avoidance” symptoms. What happens in a marriage when one person has PTSD and withdraws as a way to cope?

The struggles families may face after one member has been in war are real. A 2008 study of some returning veterans found almost 40% felt like a “guest in their own home” or that their children were afraid of them.

PTSD is a silent condition. There are no visible wounds, no surgeries, no casts to be signed by well wishers. Instead, its sufferers experience a range of symptoms those outside their family may never see such as nightmares, hyper vigilance, and anxiety. Fortunately, there is treatment for PTSD and many people recover from it.

Some stress and adjustment are to be expected coming home from a war zone, so it can be difficult for people to know what is normal stress and what is PTSD. Service member, veterans, and their families can check and see if they or their loved one’s symptoms are consistent with those of PTSD with a simple, 2-minute assessment at www.MindBodyStrength.org.

The assessments are completely free, anonymous and available 24/7 online. Answer a few questions via your computer or mobile device and start to take control of your own mental health.

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Christine Leccese is the communications and marketing manager at Military Pathways, a program of the Department of Defense.

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For more family support resources, please see MilitaryOneClick’s Family Support Page.

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