Imagine 10-year-old Tommy attends a friend’s birthday party. The party starts out wonderful and all the children are having a great time. Tommy joins a few others in the bounce house, jumping up and down. At this moment, one of them stops bouncing and falls down. She begins violently shaking and is beginning to have a seizure. They call an ambulance and the child is taken to the hospital and recovers. For Tommy this event can be traumatizing and will continue to affect him the following weeks to months after.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) applies to all ages and does not need to stem from military service or sexual violence exclusively. Upon hearing the term PTSD, people may think of soldiers returning from war or survivors of a natural disaster or violence, when there is so much more to PTSD. As in the example above, an event some people can handle and process may be traumatizing for others and can, in some circumstances, cause PTSD.
PTSD occurs in the aftermath of an event which causes trauma and is a type of anxiety disorder. The reality is that around 18.1 percent of American adults, about 42 million people, live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder and phobias according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness. Anxiety disorders are a struggle and people may not even realize they have one right away.
The symptoms of PTSD in children and adults are different and typically persist for at least a month to be diagnosed as such.
According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) some symptoms of PTSD can include:
- Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks, dreams and bad thoughts
- Avoidance of the place where trauma occurred
- Loss of interest in once loved activities
- Feeling strong guilt
- Being tense or on edge
These symptoms can occur in teenagers and young adults as well, but children may display different ones. NIMH explains children may also show signs of:
- Bedwetting when they know how to use the toilet
- Being clingy with an adult
- Re-enacting the traumatic scene while playing
- Forgetting how to speak or inability to speak
Treatment for PTSD includes therapy and medication if needed. The first step is to speak with a therapist or doctor about the issue and receive a diagnosis. From there it is important to seek proper treatment to make a full recovery.
How PTSD awareness day can help
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network reports the senate was able to make June 27, 2015 National PTSD Awareness Day. The network contains more tools and links on their webpage to understand PTSD. In addition to informational sheets, tools include online videos for the About Face campaign and counseling locations for those who need it.
People who experience a traumatic event may need to speak about it, but are afraid to. Many are faced with apprehension but by not giving voice to the incident, pretending it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t real they only allow the issue to worsen. The fear of not having anyone who will understand what one is going through can be strong enough to hold him or her from seeking treatment.
With PTSD, being afraid to be vocal about the disorder can cause further daily upset. Through the online component of the About Face campaign, people with PTSD, including military and citizens alike, are able to share their stories. People who visit the site can speak about their struggles and offer encouragement to those who are going through PTSD. National PTSD Awareness Day will not only bring awareness to the public but can also encourage people with PTSD to speak out, know they are not alone and get the help they need.
Whether you have PTSD, know someone struggling with it or just wish to spread the word about PTSD, join in Saturday June 27, 2015. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has all the tools and information to spread awareness about PTSD, it is only a matter of using them.
PTSD is one anxiety disorder out of several, which can occur in people of any age. Receiving treatment and learning to face the problem in a positive and safe environment helps individuals with one of these disorders get a full recovery. White River Academy is not a school for bad kids, rather, it is an accredited educational and therapeutic, structured and family-directed place for inner exploration and personal development. To learn more about our treatment programs for substance abuse, mental illnesses or co-occurring conditions or to learn about our curriculum, you can call 866-520-0905 to speak to a member of our team.