National PTSD Awareness Day is a day dedicated to creating awareness regarding PTSD. It is acknowledged annually on the 27th of June. The US Senate officially designated this day in 2010. In 2014 the Senate designated the whole month of June as PTSD Awareness Month. PTSD is a disorder that will affect about 7-8 out of 100 people in their lifetime, the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) reports. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing or witnessing it. The most common types of events leading to the development of PTSD include combat exposure, childhood physical abuse, sexual violence, physical assault, being threatened with a weapon or an accident.
It’s not uncommon for individuals who experience traumatic events to have a difficult time adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they typically will get better. Common PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety – as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. If an individual experiences an increase in symptom severity or length or symptoms interfere with daily functioning, it’s likely they may have PTSD.
Furthermore, Post-traumatic stress disorder can have a profound impact on an individuals life including job, relationships, health and enjoyment of everyday activities. Research has found that PTSD may also increase an individuals risk of other mental health disorders such as: depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts or actions.
In fact in a recent study, it was found that almost half of the individuals seeking substance abuse treatment also meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Getting effective treatment for co-occurring substance abuse disorder and PTSD can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving overall functionality. An element of importance is providing an environment of trauma-informed or trauma responsive care. At Footprints to Recovery our programming, environment, language, and staff was and continues to be built to better care for patients who have experienced trauma. Below, Footprints to Recovery’s Clinical Director Frank Loriggio explains best practices for responding effectively to individuals who have experienced trauma.