June is PTSD Awareness Month, and a great time to brush up on your knowledge of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Do you know how to recognize signs and symptoms of PTSD? A traumatic event – combat, natural disaster, sexual assault, or an accident - can take over the way you experience life. After going through this type of trauma, it may be impossible to stop thinking about it. Whether you are active duty, a veteran or a military family member, you can learn more about how to recognize and get treatment for PTSD symptoms.

People who live with PTSD can find it hard to feel safe. Nightmares and trouble sleeping are more known signs, while feeling on edge, unsettled, and displeased with things you used to enjoy are other more subtle ones. Maybe you feel it’s just easier to be alone. Feelings like these are common after a traumatic event.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories: reliving or re-experiencing the event, avoiding things or places that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and consistently being on guard. For someone to be diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms must fall within all four categories.

PTSD symptoms can happen at any age, and they come and go. Only a mental health care provider can diagnose PTSD, which is the first step to getting effective treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, whether they are recent or have been present for years, it is important to talk with a doctor.

You can learn more about PTSD at the National Center for PTSD. For helpful options near you, contact the DSTRESS Hotline or your Community Counseling Program (CCP) on base.  

Remember, you are not alone in your journey. This month, take the time to reach out to the people in your life who might be affected by PTSD, and be the advocate for them, or take that first step for yourself.