Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 4–10! – We are people helping people to support balanced living, sobriety & sanity through life altering experiences that maximize human potential to build a better world Creating a better world. For a starter, A World Without Stigma is a starter. This mental Illness Awareness season reminds us once more that we must not shame our brothers and sisters who might be suffering from forms of mental illness. We must learn to See the Person, not the illness. We must take action: Be Stigma Free! I found the following from NAMI helpful.

Sometimes our biological responses and instincts, which can be life-saving during a crisis, leave people with ongoing psychological symptoms because they are not integrated into consciousness.

Because the body is busy increasing the heart rate, pumping blood to muscles for movement and preparing the body to fight off infection and bleeding in case of a wound, all bodily resources and energy get focused on physically getting out of harm’s way. This resulting damage to the brain’s response system is called post traumatic stress response or disorder, also known as PTSD.

PTSD affects 3.5% of the U.S. adult population—about 7.7 million Americans—but women are more likely to develop the condition than men. About 37% of those cases are classified as severe.

While PTSD can occur at any age, the average age of onset is in a person’s early 20s.

The symptoms of PTSD fall into the following categories.

  • Intrusive Memories, which can include flashbacks of reliving the moment of trauma, bad dreams and scary thoughts.
  • Avoidance, which can include staying away from certain places or objects that are reminders of the traumatic event. A person may also feel numb, guilty, worried or depressed or having trouble remembering the traumatic event.
  • Dissociation, which can include out-of-body experiences or feeling that the world is “not real” (derealization).
  • Hypervigilance, which can include being startled very easily, feeling tense, trouble sleeping or outbursts of anger.

Over the last 5 years, research on 1–6 year olds found that young children can develop PTSD, and the symptoms are quite different from those of adults. These findings also saw an increase in PTSD diagnoses in young children by more than 8 times when using the newer criteria. Symptoms in young children can include:

  • Acting out scary events during playtime
  • Forgetting how/being unable to talk
  • Being excessively clingy with adults
  • Extreme temper tantrums, as well as overly aggressive behavior

PTSD is treated and managed in several ways.

  • Medications, including mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications and antidepressants.
  • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or group therapy.
  • Self-management strategies, such as “self-soothing”. Many therapy techniques, including mindfulness, are helpful to ground a person and bring her back to reality after a dissociative episode or a flashback.
  • Service animals, especially dogs, can help soothe some of the symptoms of PTSD.

Though PTSD cannot be cured, it can be treated effectively.

– See more at: See more at: http://www.nami.org/PTSD#sthash.36RJ4LAM.dpuf