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PTSD? There’s an App for that!

June is PTSD Awareness Month!

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological

diagnosis given to survivors of a traumatic event

that is life-threatening or that severely alters the

physical or emotional well-being of an individual.

The kinds of events that can lead to someone

developing PTSD often include either experiencing

or witnessing a severe accident or physical injury,

receiving a life-threatening medical diagnosis,

exposure to combat during wartime, experiencing

a natural disaster or other disaster (such as a plane crash

or terrorist attack), being the victim of rape, mugging,

robbery, assault, kidnapping or torture, or enduring

physical, sexual, emotional, or other forms of abuse.

Of the 70% of adults in the U.S. who have experienced

a traumatic event in their lives, 20% will go on to

develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

Dealing with PTSD is an exhausting, and sometimes

terrifying experience, as it may involve reliving the

traumatic experience through unwanted images,

memories, flashbacks, and/or nightmares.

Survivors of trauma may become depressed,

anxious, numb, or just feel so unlike their

“pre-trauma” selves that their sense of identity

and normalcy is completely shattered.  They

may lose the ability to focus or concentrate,

to sleep or eat normally, or interact with loved

ones in a healthy way.  PTSD sufferers may avoid

anything that reminds them of the trauma, if

such avoidance is possible, but often live feeling

as if something terrible is about to happen at

any moment, and are in a constant state of

hypervigilance and nervous system arousal.

Because this feels so terrible, sufferers isolate

themselves and often use alcohol or other drugs

to try to numb their feelings and reduce anxiety.

A Free App for PTSD

The Veteran’s Administration‘s National Center

for PTSD has helped to create a free mobile app

which provides people with information about

PTSD, along with effective treatments for the

disorder.  The app includes screening tools,

which may be helpful (along with evaluation

by a mental health professional) to determine

if you meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder.

The app then lets you track symptoms, and help

you to know whether you are getting better

or worse over time and with what treatments.

Managing Your Symptoms

One of the unique features of the app is that it

asks you to select photos and music you already

have on your phone or ipad to be used to reduce

distress as part of the “Manage Symptoms” section.

You will be led through different sets of relaxation

and other coping skills, and if your symptoms are

severe no matter what you try…there is a way to

get immediate crisis support through the Veterans

Crisis Line, 911, or through your support network

which the app guides you to set up and which will

include your mental health provider’s number.

Help at Your Fingertips

A section of the app walks you through an

assessment of whether you could benefit from

professional help, answers questions such as

“Will treatment really work?” and What does it

mean about me if I go for help?”  It helps to

de-stigmatize help-seeking and encourage

someone suffering alone to reach out and

know that there is hope.

Good Reasons to Get This App:

PTSD affects 8% of Americans (that’s 24.4

million people!) and is present in almost

half of all outpatient mental health patients.

What this means to you is that even if YOU

do not suffer from PTSD, you more than likely

know SOMEONE personally who suffers or has

suffered from PTSD.  And the more you know

about PTSD and how it can be effectively

treated, the more you can help one of those

24.4 million Americans to reach out of

the darkness and into the light of recovery.

 

To get this free app:

Free iTunes download

Free Android market download

 

 

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