June Is PTSD Awareness Month – Take the Pledge


PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

Who Develops PTSD?

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.

Although there are a core set of PTSD symptoms that are required for the diagnosis, PTSD does not look the same in everyone. In addition symptoms may come and go and may change over time from childhood to later adulthood.

  • Avoidance
    Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. It is natural to want to avoid thinking about or feeling emotions about a stressful event. But when avoidance is extreme, or when it’s the main way you cope, it can interfere with your emotional recovery and healing.
  • Trauma Reminders: Anniversaries
    On the anniversary of a traumatic event, some survivors have an increase in distress. These “anniversary reactions” can range from feeling mildly upset for a day or two to a more extreme reaction with more severe mental health or medical symptoms.
  • Trauma Reminders: Triggers
    People respond to traumatic events in a number of ways, such as feelings of concern, anger, fear, or helplessness. Research shows that people who have been through trauma, loss, or hardship in the past may be even more likely than others to be affected by new, potentially traumatic events.
  • Aging Veterans and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
    For many Veterans, memories of their wartime experiences can still be upsetting long after they served in combat. Even if they served many years ago, military experience can still affect the lives of Veterans today.
  • Very Young Trauma Survivors
    Trauma and abuse can have grave impact on the very young. The attachment or bond between a child and parent matters as a young child grows. This bond can make a difference in how a child responds to trauma.
  • PTSD in Children and Teens
    Trauma affects school-aged children and teenagers differently than adults. If diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms in children and teens can also look different. For many children, PTSD symptoms go away on their own after a few months. Yet some children show symptoms for years if they do not get treatment. There are many treatment options available including talk and play therapy.
  • History of PTSD in Veterans: Civil War to DSM-5
    PTSD became a diagnosis with influence from a number of social movements, such as Veteran, feminist, and Holocaust survivor advocacy groups. Research about Veterans returning from combat was a critical piece to the creation of the diagnosis. So, the history of what is now known as PTSD often references combat history. * Source:

Children Heal in Healthy Families

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

When parents decide to build their family they don’t want to believe that their child may in up with developmental or special needs that require a lot of time, commitment and yes, money. They are dreaming of the perfect family, playing and enjoying warm, cuddly time together. There is nothing wrong with that but not every dream turns out that way. 

Many families choose to build their family through adoption or end up taking care of a relatives child due to many misfortunes and circumstances. Consequently, many children come with a history of trauma and loss. The dream family is still possible but it must be modified and made more realistic. You have to say goodbye to the old dream to allow room for the new one to unfold.

Research and common experiences proves that children can heal in a healthy family. A child needs a secure attachment relationships in order to maximize all the areas of their lives, socially, physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. 

Because many children comes from insecure attachment relationships, they don’t always know what it means to be in a health family. Their special needs may be based on survival in high stress family situations. Their “abnormal behaviors” in a normal family were perfectly “normal” in their abnormal situations before entering the new home. A bit of rehabilitation is necessary to help them make the internal and external adjustments. 

Trauma situations impact the children development. This includes their brain development as well. The child needs to adapt to overwhelming and hostile environments and can create a position of offensive behaviors that don’t want to submit to parental controls. An internal model develops that believes the world and caregivers cannot be trusted. 

Fortunately, the same brain that adapted to stressful circumstances can re-adapt to calm living environments. This happens over time, sometimes quickly and sometimes not so quickly. This is challenging for parents to understand and cope. 

The brain must be re-activated to change. Experience dictates form and function when it comes to brain adaptation. New, positive experiences that happen repeatedly will open up new neuronal brain growth that allows for a feelings safety and security to settle in. Once this happens, parents can begin to enjoy that “dream family” once again.