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As far as PTSD awareness goes, you should know that it is estimated that 10% to 20% of people that volunteer for military service develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after their deployment.  On the other hand, about 10% of the overall United States population develops PTSD during their life.  This means that returning vets can be expected to develop PTSD symptoms at twice the rate of the general population.

Although most of the general public regard PTSD as strictly a condition people in the military experience, it is also affects 8% of the United States population. The month of June has been designated for PTSD Awareness and brings to light this often misunderstood and under-recognized condition.

After a person experiences a traumatic and horrific incident such as a bad car accident, military combat, sexual or physical assault, natural disasters and other life threatening experiences, they are at risk for developing PTSD symptoms.  Hence, it is important for civilians to increase their PTSD awareness.  PTSD manifests itself in symptoms which were not present before the trauma such as getting easily irritated, re-experiencing the trauma, avoiding people, places and things associated with the trauma, and increased arousal, such as feeling agitated, having temper tantrums or a drastic change in sleeping patterns.  Contrary to popular belief a member of the military who develops PTSD is not considered dangerous to others or themselves.  Individuals who have mental illness are not any more dangerous or violent to anyone compared to those without a mental illness.

One of the greatest hurdles for veterans of military service is when they come back state side and want to enter the workforce.   This can be complicated for vets as well as for their employers, which is another reason to increase PTSD awareness.  If someone is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, these symptoms will typically interfere with one’s ability to function on the job.  Poor concentration, moodiness, agitation, temper outbursts, etc. can all contribute to poor job performance.  An ounce of prevention, by getting treatment for PTSD, not only improves a sense of calm and well being, but can save jobs. Fortunately there are large organizations to help both privately and with government support.  This ranges from the Hiring Our Heroes initiative from the Chamber of Commerce to the federal governments Joining Forces program.  These greatly aid in helping veterans adjust to civilian employment.  However despite all of this, misconceptions about PTSD remain and the need for PTSD awareness persists.  Because of this the Army has started a program called “Hire a Veteran” to defeat these misconceptions.  You can find facts about PTSD and the military experience from organizations like the DCoe which is the Defense Centers of Excellence.

Many times PTSD is not diagnosed correctly or takes some time to develop.  After PTSD is diagnosed it can treated and the symptoms can be alleviated.  Over 80% of those with PTSD tend to experience a second, comorbid disorder, such as depression or alcohol abuse.  Furthermore, with President Obama’s speech, he pointed out around 40% of American citizens who have a mental illness actually get help.  This means 60% never seek or get the help they greatly need.  This is unacceptable, and we would not tolerate only 40% of cancer patients getting treatment.  This shouldn’t be tolerated for patients suffering from PTSD either.  If you know someone who is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, chances are they will need your help in order to get treatment.

For members of the military who need treatment for PTSD and other mental problems there are various programs available.  The Defense Department, VA (Veterans Affairs) and private treatment facilities can also provide great help.  Because our treatment center relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from PTSD, depression and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of PTSD or depression, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for PTSD can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.  If you have PTSD you aren’t alone!