• Healing from PTSD: Take the Step


    “For most of my life I’ve thought I was crazy. But for the first time, someone’s named what I’m struggling with and told me there’s help. Thank you!”

    Almost every time my colleague Wanda and I speak about post-traumatic stress disorder, someone responds with words similar to these.

    Unfortunately, far too many people still think that PTSD is a brain illness reserved for soldiers returning from war. My friend  Wanda and I founded PTSDPerspectives to help raise awareness of the prevalence of PTSD and foster discussions about how individuals fighting the symptoms that often follow trauma and those around them can help create healing environments.

    Step One: Raise Awareness.

    • According to ScienceDailyone in three postpartum women suffer PTSD symptoms after childbirth and 7.8% suffer from partial post-trauma.
    • According to a recent Oregon Health & Science University study, nearly 20% of people who underwent low-back spinal fusion surgery developed PTSD.
    • According to an article in KevinMD.com, 1 in 8 patients developed PTSD symptoms following an MI (myocardial infarction) event, or heart attack.
    • PTSD is also common to many other events, experiences, and occupations:
    • death of a loved one
    • sexual abuse, rape, molestation
    • assault
    • suicide
    • abandonment
    • adoption and separation
    • abortion
    • early childhood medical experiences
    • natural disaster
    • jobs that involve secondary trauma such as social work, medicine, law enforcement, caregiving
    • any experience that overwhelms the brain’s ability to cope

    So if you’re an employer, be aware that approximately 5-8% of your work force is struggling with PTSD. If you’re a pastor, do the math and begin discussions on mental health in your congregation. If you’re an educator, understand that this issue impacts both your students and your faculty and staff. And if you work or live in an urban area, recognize that statistics for PTSD run much higher in inner-city populations.

    And if you work with jobs that put you at risk for PTSD or secondary trauma, talk to a medical professional about possible symptoms and how trauma may be impacting you.

    Most importantly, take the first step with awareness, and begin the conversation.

    To be continued…

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