Mental Health Monday: Recognizing and coping with PTSD

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 8:54 AM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - June is PTSD Awareness Month, or post traumatic stress disorder.

The disorder is commonly associated with veterans, but experts at Brynn Marr Hospital say it can also stem from other traumas, as well.

“Most people recognize PTSD as it relates to our military, especially in Eastern North Carolina, where we have such a large military presence. But we want to recognize that anyone can develop post traumatic stress disorder,” said Dana Cronkhite with Brynn Marr Hospital.

Cronkhite says causes include accidents or injuries, abuse, natural disasters or even things like the COVID-19 pandemic. She says triggers can occur in things like nightmares or flashbacks, increased anxiety/ depression, or self destructive behavior.

She says the first step is to support your loved ones and cater to each person’s specific needs.

“Trauma impacts everyone differently. You and I may experience the same event and have completely different impacts with how we process it,” Cronkhite explained. She added, “The first step is understanding. Don’t make assumptions or comparisons as to how someone might handle their symptoms.”

She says it’s important to listen to your loved ones and find activities to do together, such as exercise or hobbies. Cronkhite suggests avoiding phrases like“get over it” or “stop being dramatic.” She says tough love is not the answer in this situation.

If you or a loved one needs help, you can visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website to find resources near you or contact Brynn Marr Hospital to learn more about their resources.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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