While suicide prevention should always be a topic of concern, September aims to spread awareness to the issue that is often considered taboo to talk about. As a company that works consistently with our nation’s troops, we have made it our business to help Soldiers cope with PTSD and the invisible wounds of war.
We have designed and developed a series of web-based courses to assist Servicemembers as they integrate back into the civilian world as well as courses to help VA health clinicians understand suicide risk and prevention strategies for different populations. However, for Veterans, it is oftentimes not an issue of finding help, but recognizing the symptoms of PTSD in the first place.
What is PTSD?
Many aren’t even aware that they have PTSD. If someone has suffered through a life-threatening event or a severe trauma, it is not unusual to develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress, commonly referred to as posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, shell shock, or combat stress. Perhaps they may have witnessed people dying or being injured. They may have even been harmed themself. It’s also common for those with PTSD to feel a sense of responsibility, that they had no control of what was happening, fearing for their life or the lives of others.
Symptoms of PTSD can include recurring memories or nightmares. These can impact everyday life by causing sleeplessness, loss of interest, feeling numb, anger and irritability. However, it can take time to develop these symptoms, and some people don’t even realize they have them at all. They might come and go. However, if the problems become consistent or are getting worse, they may have PTSD.
Know the Signs
There are a variety of symptoms that can lead to the diagnosis of PTSD:
- Becoming upset with things that remind them of what took place
- Nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks makes them relive the event
- They feel emotionally distant from others
- They lose interest or feel numb towards things they once cared about
- Becoming depressed
- Always afraid that they are in danger
- Feeling anxious, nervous or irritated
- Fearing that something terrible is going to happen
- Difficulty sleeping
- Their mind wanders
- Unable to relate to their spouse, family and friends
The ways someone handles their symptoms may cause a bigger disruption in their life. They may:
- Often avoid places or things that remind them of what happened
- Numb their feelings by often drinking or taking drugs
- Consider harming themself or others
- Keeping busy all of the time to occupy their mind
- Become withdrawn from other people and isolate themself
You Can Help
One in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is diagnosed with PTSD and account for 20 percent of all U.S. suicides. That is at least one suicide every 65 minutes. Being aware of the symptoms may help save a life. If you or someone you know is showing signs of PTSD, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Keep fighting – together.