Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was first brought to the public attention in relation to military veterans. The numbers can be startling. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and their National Center for PTSD, it is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime. Yet, it may surprise you to realize PTSD can result from a variety of traumatic incidents affecting more than veterans.
Some 70% of Americans will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, and of those, up to 20% will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is estimated to impact more than 13 million Americans at any given time, or 8% of us at some point in our lifetime. And it’s not just adults. 40% of children and teens will experience a single traumatic incident before their 18th birthday, and of those, up to 15% of girls and 6% of boys will go on to develop PTSD.
The trauma we’re referring to includes sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, accident or illness (affecting you or a loved one), natural disasters, terror attacks, and so much more. Yet traditional health care settings have focused on “What’s wrong with you?” rather than “What happened to you?” This speaks to the importance of becoming trauma-informed as an individual and as a community.
Laura Murphy, LMHC, CSAYC, writes in the blog post, Becoming a Trauma-Informed Community, a good rule of thumb is to take universal precautions and treat everyone you come into contact with as though they may have a trauma history. To become trauma-informed it means that one must recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress. We realize the impact of trauma on those around us, we recognize the symptoms, and we respond by changing our own behavior accordingly. All while trying our best to avoid re-traumatizing someone who may be in a heightened state.
The good news is trauma is treatable and we’ve come a long way in treatment options in the last decade. If you or someone you love is suffering with trauma – help is available.
Consider taking a brief Trauma Screening Questionnaire as a next step.
If you feel alone and need to talk, we’d love to start a chat online or text LOOKUP to 494949. If you live in Indiana and need help finding a behavioral health provider, visit Find Help or call (800) 284-8439.
Start the conversation. Silence the stigma.
Kristina and Heather
To view the full newsletter, click here.