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It's National PTSD Awareness Month: Find Out What Can Trigger The Disorder

(CBS4) - June is National PTSD Awareness Month. Nearly 10% of people experience post-traumatic stress disorder in their lives and it's not always a dangerous event that can be the cause.

"Witnessing an event that is dangerous is definitely something that can cause PTSD but also hearing about it from loved ones or loved one's friends. People who are close to us that we identify with, that are in a risky or dangerous situation could also trigger PTSD," said Dr. Anat Geva, a clinical psychologist from the HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center.

There are several PTSD symptoms. Dr. Geva said one of them is intrusion.

"We're thinking of nightmares. We think flashbacks, we think of intrusive thoughts of doing one thing and suddenly being overwhelmed with thoughts, memories of the event or things we heard about it."

Geva said other symptoms include avoidance -- like not wanting to have anything to do with the situation -- or anything that would remind us of it.

She also says markers of PTSD can be when someone is jumpy or startled if a door creaks, a person jumps or there's a sudden clap.

"To really get a diagnosis, what you want to do is get one from a professional who's trained and knowing what is normal and what should require more professional attention. PTSD is treatable so there's really no reason not to get help and make our lives closer to how we want them to be."

Dr. Geva said it's important to make someone with PTSD feel safe and not rush them or push them into a corner. Give them choices. Be sensitive towards the things that make them startle or make them jump but also try not to shame them.

"I would really encourage you to practice saying what you need, being very clear. For example, you know 'The noise is loud, can we turn the TV off for that show?' Or 'The lights are really bright, do you mind if we dim them a little bit?' 'Do you mind if I sit closer to the door or if we keep the door locked or open?' It's so individual -- but be very clear on what you're asking the other people to do for you.

"If they don't do it for you, then look for ways of getting that sense of safety and control back into your own hands."


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