PTSD Awareness Day

Let’s bring awareness to PTSD on this day.

PTSD Awareness Day is observed every year on June 27th to raise awareness and understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The date was chosen in tribute to the date of birth of a North Dakota National Guard member who suffered from PTSD and who sadly took his own life in 2007 following two tours in Iraq. This disorder, which is a condition that many veterans and non-veterans alike suffer from, is the result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event(s). Symptoms vary from individual to individual and may include intrusion symptoms such as nightmares and flashbacks; avoidance behaviors to mitigate thinking about or feelings related to the trauma; negative changes in thinking or mood such as feeling isolated, having a decreased interest in activities, and exaggerating blame of oneself; and alterations in arousal and reactivity, such as feeling more irritable, being hypervigilant, and struggling with focus.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect people of all ages, including children. There can be various events in a child’s life that could possibly trigger PTSD: something that happened directly to the child, something that happened to someone close to the child, or something the child saw. Examples of personal or indirect events that could have an impact on a child’s mental health are accidents, an invasive medical procedure, a natural disaster, bullying, neglect, emotional or physical abuse.

A child suffering from PTSD may relive the trauma over and over again, have frequent nightmares, flashbacks, and scary thoughts/memories related to the past event. 

PTSD is usually diagnosed if symptoms occur for more than a month, and its treatment depends on the child’s symptoms, age, and general health.

PTSD, in children, can look like:

Irritability and aggression

New phobias and anxieties

Losing previously acquired skills

Aches and pains with no apparent cause

Somber play

Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings

Fear of being separated from their parent

Sleep problems and nightmares

If you or someone you know is affected by PTSD, don’t suffer in silence, and please ask for help.

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