June 2, 2020
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness
Suzanne Vickers, LISW-S

Did you know that June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Month? There are a variety of situations that might cause trauma, such as the death of a loved one, car accidents, war or exposure to/witnessing an event.  Acute Stress disorder differs from PTSD in that it can start right after a traumatic event, whereas a post-traumatic stress disorder has a more long-term effect. Acute stress disorder can last up to a month, and you may find yourself having difficulty with sleep or feeling extra sensitive to your environment – sounds, smells, and visuals. Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop symptoms of PTSD. Many people are able to handle these uncomfortable experiences on their own. Factors that impact how a person responds to a traumatic incident vary. These may include the intensity of their thoughts about the event, their particular coping style, past experiences that might increase their sensitivity to trauma, and their feelings of safety and good social support.

Those with a history of PTSD may be experiencing an increase in symptoms due to circumstances surrounding this pandemic. Recent events of injustice and brutality in Minneapolis and elsewhere—including Columbus—can cause much distress and a resurgence of past PTSD symptoms. Stress symptoms that can be trauma-related include intrusive memories of the past, trouble with sleeping, feeling on-guard, experiencing difficult emotions or a lack of emotions, wanting to avoid things that might overwhelm you or remind you of the event and negative thinking. These symptoms should subside with time; if they persist, then reach out for support by going to NAMI for local support.

Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available. If you or one of your dependents are affected in a personal way by any tragic event, a good place to start is your Employee Assistance Program. Please click here to complete an online request for counseling, email us at eap@osumc.edu, or call us at 800-678-6265.

Photo credit: istockphoto.com