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Hidden in Plain Sight

24.4 million Americans may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Where to go for help.

By - Sep 20th, 2018 01:44 pm
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Black and white blinds. Photo by Hammad Bhatti from Pexels.

Black and white blinds. Photo by Hammad Bhatti from Pexels.

According to PTSD United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support to those with post-traumatic stress disorder, 70 percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.

Up to 20 percent of those people develop PTSD.

That equates to approximately 44.7 million people who have been or are being affected by PTSD. It is estimated that 24.4 million people have PTSD at any given time, which is a number equal to the total population of Texas.

Although well known to affect service members, posttraumatic stress disorder can affect anyone. Many develop PTSD from experiencing or witnessing life-threatening or traumatic events. Common PTSD triggers include sexual assault or threats, physical assault or threats, natural disasters, car accidents or other serious accidents, terrorist attacks, military combat, life-threatening illness or injury, secondary trauma (such as first-responder witness of the aftermath of abuse, accidents, death, etc.). Given how common some of these events are, there are more people who have PTSD from non-military-related circumstances than from actual combat.

The stressors of trauma can affect not only emotional, but mental and physical well-being. Untreated PTSD may cause those affected to relive the traumatic event or avoid the event entirely, or can greatly alter their emotional outlook, ranging from heightened awareness of threats to extreme emotional numbing, which may cause difficulty with day-to-day life.

“While we are continuing to learn more about its complicated symptoms and diagnosis, there is no ‘cure’ for PTSD—we cannot fully remove a traumatic memory from the brain,” says Dr. Chad Wetterneck, PhD, clinical supervisor at Rogers Behavioral Health.

“However, there are proven treatments that greatly reduce the symptoms and help people more forward with healthy lives. At Rogers, we use state-of-the-art measures to detect reductions in symptoms and increase one’s fulfillment in life. We’ve found that we can ‘move the needle’ greatly in both areas.”

Rogers Behavioral Health offers one of the few specialized, evidence-based PTSD programs for adults. Grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy, Rogers’ PTSD treatment gradually confronts unwanted thoughts and feared situations.

PTSD treatment at Rogers translates skills learned as part of therapy into social, personal, and professional scenarios through therapist-supported community exposure as the patient is ready. Patients can reinforce this by continuing therapeutic strategies on their own.

Over time, these techniques used within their therapeutic approach will help each patient gain acceptance of their thoughts and feelings and help them live the life they want.

Currently, Rogers offers both outpatient and inpatient care for PTSD at three Wisconsin locations in Brown Deer, Oconomowoc, and West Allis.

Rogers Behavioral Health also offers free PTSD screening through their website. For more information, visit rogersbh.org or call 800-767-441.

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