In addition to Aphasia Awareness Month, June is also Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month.
What causes PTSD?
PTSD may happen after a person experiences a traumatic event (something that is terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that occurs to you). Some examples of traumatic events include combat exposure, child sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attack, sexual or physical assault, serious accidents (including those that cause traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury), and natural disasters (including fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake).
What are the signs or symptoms?
The symptoms of PTSD begin shortly after the trauma. However, they may not appear for months or years later and may come and go over the years. There are four types of symptoms of PTSD including reliving the event (re-experiencing symptoms or flashbacks), avoiding situations that remind one of the event, feeling numb, and feeling keyed up (also called hyper-arousal). Most people experience some symptoms shortly after a trauma. However, some symptoms may develop over time. Whether or not a person develops PTSD after a trauma depends on several things, including the intensity of the trauma or the length of time it lasted, if the person was injured or lost someone during the trauma, proximity to the event, how strong the person’s reaction was to the event, feelings (or lack thereof) of control of events, and/or how much help and support was received after the event. Please contact your primary care physician if you are experiencing these symptoms.
What resources are available?
The National Center for PTSD (a center of the US Department of Veterans Affairs) conducts research and offers resources and education on the prevention, understanding, and treatment of PTSD. During PTSD Awareness month, the National Center for PTSD will be posting a 4-week series to help raise PTSD awareness. Each week a new section of the series will be posted on their website (Week 1: How I knew, Week 2: My family suffered, Week 3: How treatment helped, and Week 4: My advice: Don’t wait). This week tells the story of Veteran Timm Lovitt, who explains how he knew he had PTSD. One can also find resources on the symptoms of PTSD, a trauma symptom checklist, a course for providers on what PTSD is, and ways that the public can help.
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) has several research projects dealing with PTSD, including:
- Research at the Johns Hopkins University Burn Injury Rehabilitation Model System (JHU-BIMS) Project Number: H133A070045.
- Research at the Pediatric Burn Injury Rehabilitation Model System Project Number: H133A070026.
We also searched through our databases for articles dealing with PTSD and we found over 200. Here are just a select few:
- Caplan, Bruce; Bogner, Jennifer (Eds.). TBI in the military: 2012. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 27(1), 1-85. NARIC Accession Number: R09147.
- Hoffman, Jeanne M.; Dimen, Sureyya; Temkin, Nancy; Bell, Kathleen R. Development of posttraumatic stress disorder after mild traumatic brain injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 93(2), 287-292. NARIC Accession Number: J63279.
- Doctor, Jason N.; Zoellner, Lori A.; Feeny, Norah C. Predictors of health-related quality-of-life utilities among persons with posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatric Services (formerly Hospital and Community Psychiatry), 62(3), 272-277. NARIC Accession Number: J61493.
- Reeves, R.H.; Beltzman, D.; Killu, K. Implications of traumatic brain injury for survivors of sexual abuse: A preliminary report of findings. Rehabilitation Psychology, 45(2), 205-211. NARIC Accession Number: J39376.
- Mona, I.R.; Cameron, R.P.; Lesondak, L.M.; Norris, F.H. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptomology in men and women with spinal cord injury. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 6(1), 76-86. NARIC Access Number: J39952.
- Martz, E.; Cook, D.W. Physical impairments as risk factors for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 44(4), 217-221. NARIC Accession Number: J42440.