June is PTSD Awareness Month. Some quick facts about PTSD:
1. PTSD affects survivors of many traumas and is NOT just a result of wartime or military experience. Traumas that cause PTSD include sexual and domestic violence, cyberbullying/bullying, major accidents and deaths.
2. It is more common to freeze during a traumatic event, like a sexual assault.
3. PTSD and trauma affect our perceptions of the world, ourselves, and those around us.
4. Someone with PTSD can experience symptoms that are both visible and invisible to those around them. These symptoms include: hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, distorted perceptions specific to safety, irritability, anxiety, depression, isolation, and avoidance.
5. Someone with PTSD experiences symptoms specific to safety due to a feeling that they are not safe. This is due to the brain’s fear response (i.e. amygdala) being on high alert and working overtime. Triggers, or objects, places, people, and situations that remind someone of the trauma, can set off the amygdala’s fear response.