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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

Today: US National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day

PTSD, an anxiety disorder that may develop after a person experiences a terrifying event, is known to increase the risk of depression, suicide, and drug- and alcohol-related disorders and deaths.

According to the NIMH, the US population lifetime prevalence of PTSD is 6.8% (National Comorbidity Survey Replication). In some regions globally, especially where chronic trauma due to ongoing conflict occurs, it is estimated that up to 30% of the population has PTSD.

The US Congress has declared June 27, 2011 National PTSD Awareness Day. The Resolution includes some terse, unsettling statistics:

  • 2.4% of personnel returning from deployment to the Afghanistan or Iraq war are clinically diagnosed with PTSD;
  • 17% of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans exposed to sustained ground combat report symptoms of PTSD;
  • PTSD is or has been experienced by 10% of Gulf War veterans and 30% of Vietnam veterans.

The US Veteran’s Administration, through its National Center for PTSD, is taking a lead role in this event, which has been active through the whole month of June . This Center casts its net wide, addressing the condition not only among military personnel but in other settings, such as the Japan tsunami disaster. It also provides a link to the PILOTS (Published International Literature On Traumatic Stress) database, which contains over 43,000 entries “to all literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health sequelae of traumatic events, without disciplinary, linguistic, or geographical limitations, and to offer both current and retrospective coverage.”

Maggie Brown, MS, ELS,  is Senior Production Editor at PLoS.

  1. I commend you for honoring the many veterans that struggle with the affects of PTSD…..and, great to see a DAY set aside to bring awareness for them.

    I hope other groups that suffer from PTSD are also honored…….the men, women and children of domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, trauma events, etc. They too need a voice……a loud one… show the damage done to them.

    Another group that is rarely given any recognition for their loss and life altering experience that may lead to PTSD are teens and young women…… mother’s…..who surrender (surrendered) a child to an adoption agency, private attorney or black market adoption.

    Mother’s of Loss to Adoption struggle with life long affects from the loss of their newborn babies. PTSD manifests in anxiety, depression, flashbacks, numbing, hypervigilence, to name a few……along with perfectionism, alcoholism and other “isms”. Many suffer in silence or are not diagnosed correctly.

    Please, recognize and educate for all the men, women and children who are affected by PTSD in their lives. Thank you……….

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