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PTSD Awareness: What You Need to Know

June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) month. Though many hear PTSD and think of the military, “whether you’re directly involved in an incident of gun violence, you’re a witness to a shooting, or simply hear about the events on the news, you can become traumatized or develop symptoms of PTSD.” Traumatic events linked to PTSD in children range from car accidents, to tornadoes, fires, medical procedures, domestic violence, and physical abuse.

In the military, individuals may be exposed to a range of traumatic events, such as combat, witnessing death or injury, being under threat, experiencing explosions, and enduring prolonged periods of high stress. These experiences can have a profound impact on their mental well-being. Improving Lives Counseling Services’ team of professional, licensed therapists diagnose and treat children, adolescents, teens, seniors, and adults for PTSD.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur in anyone experiencing a traumatic event. The list of symptoms is a long one and can vary over time and from person to person. Active duty military, veterans, and civilians may experience intrusive thoughts and memories, nightmares, and flashbacks. Triggers can include sights, sounds, and locations – even movies, social media posts, and music. Reliving the trauma through recurring thoughts can be difficult to control.

For their mental health, people with PTSD may avoid certain places and activities. Veterans may avoid clubs and venues where fellow vets gather. Children, adolescents, and teens may avoid talking about the event. Adults may talk about the event when seeking help, yet find it difficult to cope with the distress.

Other symptoms include negative changes in thinking and disposition, self-destruction, isolation, feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anger, and loneliness. Distorted beliefs about themselves can lead to loss of interest in family, avoiding once enjoyed activities, religious, social, and family gatherings. Difficulty in concentrating, memory loss, and mistrust are additional symptoms.


People with PTSD may experience heightened states of arousal, have problems sleeping, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, joint and back pain, headaches, sore muscles, and fatigue. Children and teens may have problems concentrating and sitting still in the classroom. They may be argumentative, display criminal activity, behavior disorders, and suicidality tendencies.

“Having PTSD can increase the risk of housing instability. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation cites reports indicating that those with PTSD have an increased likelihood of unemployment or underemployment, and increased difficulty meeting work-related demands.” Homelessness from PTSD is also seen in teens booted from foster care, trafficked teens, gang members, and children of incarcerated parents.


It is important to note that not every military member who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD. However, military personnel are at an increased risk due to the cumulative effects of multiple traumatic experiences, the nature of combat, and the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life after deployment.

Recognizing the impact of PTSD on military personnel, armed forces around the world have implemented various measures to address and support mental health. These include pre-deployment training to prepare individuals for potentially traumatic events, improved screening and assessment for mental health issues, access to mental health professionals and counseling services, and ongoing support and rehabilitation programs for veterans.


According to research approximately 7-8% of the general population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. These numbers are higher in survivors of sexual assault, gang violence, and school and mass shootings. Children living in areas with high rates of violence, extreme poverty, and constant discrimination or prejudice are more likely to display symptoms of PTSD.

Support from family, friends, and mental health professionals can play a crucial role in the recovery of civilians with PTSD. Building a strong support network, engaging in self-care activities, practicing stress-reduction techniques, and participating in support groups can also be helpful.

Our Mental Health Therapists are Here to Help

Without treatment, symptoms of PTSD are likely to worsen over time, leading to chronic stress, anxiety disorder, severe depression, criminal activity, chronic behavioral disorders, and permanent damage to the brain.
The therapists, counselors, and clinicians of Improving Lives Counseling Services assess an individual’s symptoms and their impact on daily life. Treatment plans are designed (developed) to meet each client’s specific needs. We offer individual, couples, family, and group, virtual, and in-person sessions. PTSD is not curable, yet with therapy, symptoms and related mental health diagnoses can be controlled. If you or someone you care about is displaying any of these symptoms, contact us at 918-960-7852.