In a few months we will begin a new Project HELP emphasis. You will receive more details later but we need to begin thinking about how we can promote our new emphasis — Project HELP: PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What is PTSD? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about or that happens to you, for example:
♦ Compat exposure
♦ Child sexual or physical abuse
♦ Terrorist attack
♦ Sexual or physical assault
♦ Serious accidents, like a car wreck
♦ Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood or
What are the symptoms of PTSD? PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.
♦ Reliving the event – You may have bad memories or
nightmares. You even may feel like you're going through
the event again. This is called a flashback.
♦ Avoiding situations that remind you of the event – You
may try to avoid situations or people that trigger
memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid
talking or thinking about the event.
♦ Negative changes in beliefs and feelings — The way you
think about yourself and others may change because of
the trama. You may feel fear, guilt or shame. Or, you
may not be interested in activities you used to enjoy.
This is another way to avoid memories.
♦ Feeling keyed up — You may be jittery, or always alert
and on the lookout for danger. Or, you may have trouble
concentrating or sleeping.
Can children have PTSD? Children can have PTSD too. They may have symptoms described above or other symptoms depending on how old they are. As children get older, their symptoms are more like those of adults. Here are some examples of PTSD symptoms in children:
♦ Birth to 6 may get upset if their parents are not close by,
have trouble sleeping or suddenly have trouble with
toilet training or going to the bathroom.
♦ Age 7 to 11 may act out the trauma through play, drawings or stories. Some have nightmares or become
more irritable or aggressive. They may also want to
avoid school or have trouble with schoolwork or friends.
♦ Age 12 to 18 have symptoms more similar to adults:
depression, anxiety, withdrawal or reckless behavior like
substance abuse or running away.
Women and PTSD
More than half of all women will experience at least one traumatic event in their life. Women are more likely to be neglected or abused in childhood, to experience domestic
violence or to have a loved one suddenly die.
♦ Women are more likely to be jumpy, to have more
trouble feeling emotions and to avoid things that remind
them of the trauma than men. Men are more likely to feel angry and to have trouble controlling their anger
♦ Women with PTSD are more likely to feel depressed and
anxious, while men with PTSD are more likely to have
problems with alcohol or drugs.
♦ Both women and men who experience PTSD may develop
physical health problems.
(Information from National Center for PTSD website: