June is PTSD Awareness Month. PTSD is a mental health disorder that can affect people who have experienced a frightening or terrifying event that causes them emotional distress to the point that it impacts their daily life. When we experience PTSD, we have been directly affected by the event or witnessed the event happening. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks of the event, nightmares, severe anxiety, or uncontrollable thoughts. PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time and from person to person.
It’s very easy to confuse post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma because they have overlapping symptoms and similar names – but they are not the same thing. PTSD often follows a traumatic event, however not all traumatic events lead to the development of the disorder. Trauma is, however, associated with PTDS. According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event. Trauma can occur once or on multiple occasions, and an individual can experience more than one type of trauma. Trauma causes us to feel hurt, injured, disregarded, unloved, unwanted or unnurtured. Here are some of the different types of trauma:
- Physical or life-threatening event such as domestic abuse, car accident, drug overdose
- Sexual abuse/assault
- Medical trauma
- Military trauma
- School violence or bullying
- Traumatic grief or separation
- Community violence (gangs, interracial violence, police and citizen altercations, etc.)
- Natural disasters
- Forced displacement (i.e. refugees)
- War/terrorism/political violence
- and/or being a witness to any of the above traumatic events.
Individuals with PTSD and trauma disorder can both suffer from avoidance of the place or situation in which the traumatic event occurred, feeling nervous or fearful, insomnia, and may develop low self-esteem. Help is available. Call L.A. CADA at (562) 906-2676 for referrals and assistance. Find out more: PTSD, Alcohol, and Drugs