JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The month of June marks Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month.
Many people know of PTSD, but may not fully understand how it affects people. It can affect those suffering from it differently, and it is important to understand that PTSD is more than a diagnosis.
“There are a particular set of symptoms that may transpire, but when trauma happens, not everyone responds in the same way,” said Maj. (Dr.) Abby Diehl, 59th Medical Wing Psychological Health director. “It’s hard to predict how people might respond to different events.”
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, some common symptoms of PTSD include things like sleep disturbance, hypervigilance, trouble concentrating, irritable behavior or forms of self-destructive behavior.
The American Psychiatric Association states approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults are affected by PTSD every year and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.
The Military Health System offers a variety of resources for those suffering from PTSD.
“A good starting point is primary care behavioral health,” said Diehl. “We can do a brief prolonged exposure protocol. Also, people can self-refer to the mental health clinic. I would always recommend starting in primary care behavioral health, because you’ll get a shorter visit with a trained mental health provider, a psychologist or social worker. There are a lot of resources online. There’s the center for deployment psychology which has a lot of information about PTSD from a military perspective. ”
For veterans and their families, there is also a hotline through the PTSD Foundation of America specialized in providing referrals, information and resources. To reach the hotline, patients can call (877) 717-PTSD (7873).