What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Our bodies are naturally programmed to respond to danger with physiological changes that increase our awareness and allow us to fight or flee, also known as the fight or flight response. In most cases, we are able to relax and return to a normal state once the danger or threat has passed. People who suffer from PTSD, as a result of a single life-threatening event or ongoing exposure to trauma such as during war, experience a heightened sense of anxiety that they can’t turn off – even when no imminent danger exists.
PTSD awareness, particularly as it affects people in the military, has increased in recent years. The VA reports that 11% of veterans who served in Afghanistan and 20% of those who served in Iraq have PTSD in a given year. Why some soldiers get PTSD and others don’t is still a bit of a mystery, but it is believed the number of incidences increase with multiple tours of duty and more exposure to combat. (Badger, 2014)
The VA estimates that nearly 400,000 cases of PTSD go untreated. (Team RWB, n.d.) Because of the stigma associated with PTSD as well as a lack of resources and understanding of the condition, many returning soldiers have been reluctant to seek treatment. Today, organizations such as NCPTSD are working to change that.
Join our efforts spread the word about PTSD and effective treatments during PTSD Awareness Month. Everyone makes a difference. Print and distribute the Help Raise PTSD Awareness Flyer. (PDF)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2015, May 7, 2015) Help Raise PTSD Awareness. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/index.asp
Badger, E. (2014, April 3). Why the Iraq War has produced more PTSD than the conflict in Afghanistan. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/04/03/why-the-iraq-war-has-produced-more-ptsd-than-the-conflict-in-afghanistan/?wpisrc=nl_eve
Team RWB (n.d.) Veterans Statistics. Retrieved from http://teamrwb.org/our-impact/statistics