June 27th National PTSD Awareness Day

INDIANA – June 27 is National PTSD Awareness Day.

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a complex disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing trauma. The trauma necessary to cause PTSD can originate from many events — potentially an accident, combat, a natural disaster, or an assault — but there are other ways PTSD symptoms can arise.

A trained professional must diagnose PTSD, based on symptoms like hypervigilance, mood swings, recurring and involuntary flashbacks to the trauma, and avoidance.

The National Center for PTSD declared all of June to be PTSD Awareness Month — you can help their campaign by educating yourself and others about the illness and sharing help with those who might need it.

PTSD in some form or another has long been documented in humans. The earliest known literature about the disorder is a poem from 50 BC. Hippocrates narrated a traumatic battle experience about a soldier who was haunted by PTSD-like combat flashbacks. PTSD has consistently been mentioned since then, notably during the Hundred Year’s War between England and France, and even in the literature of Shakespeare — including Romeo and Juliet.

A new understanding of PTSD came with the Civil War in the 1800s, as the disorder became widespread in the traumatized country. PTSD was known under a variety of names, including “railway spine.” It was in 1915 that some understanding of PTSD was formally introduced into medical literature, under the name “shell shock.”

World War 1 threw the disease into the spotlight, and rudimentary treatments, like electric shock therapy, were attempted. It wasn’t until the 1950s that more modern treatments, like group therapy, were introduced.

The Vietnam War issued, yet again, a new understanding of the disorder. This coincided with research done by psychologists on both Holocaust victims and rape victims, which helped prove that many kinds of trauma can lead to PTSD.

Today, it’s considered largely treatable, so we’ve made a lot of progress. The Senate recognized June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day at the urging of Senator Kent Conrad. Conrad wanted to honor a North Dakota National Guard member who had committed suicide after two tours of duty in Iraq. In 2014, the entire month of June was designated National PTSD Awareness Month by the Senate.

Lawrence County Veteran’s Affair Officer Brad Bough says whether you just returned from a deployment or have been home for 40 years, it’s never too late to get help for PTSD.

Brad Bough

“Getting counseling or treatment can help you manage your symptoms and keep them from getting worse,” said Bough. “To access these services, first a veteran needs to apply for VA health care. We can assist them to do that.”

Veterans will then need to fill out one of these two forms: VA Form 21-0781: Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; or. VA Form 21-0781a: Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Secondary to Personal Assault. Bough can help veterans with these forms.

You can contact the Lawrence County Veterans Affairs Office by calling 812-275-6411 or visiting the office in the basement of the Lawrence County Courthouse in room 8. The office is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Bough says it is best to call and make an appointment so you can review with him the needed paperwork needed to get started.

To learn more about PTSD visit https://www.ptsd.va.gov/.