PTSD Awareness Day: Understanding PTSD

PTSD Awareness Day: Understanding PTSD

PTSD awareness

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can affect anyone who has been through a life threatening or emotionally disturbing experience. Part of the officially designated month for focusing on understanding PTSD, PTSD Awareness Day is June 27.

Official Recognition

PTSD Awareness Day came about as a result of a soldier’s suffering and eventual death by suicide. In 2010, Senator Kent Conrad worked to have a day of awareness set aside as a tribute to the North Dakota National Guard member’s struggles. Staff Sergeant Jon Biel died in 2007, committing suicide after two tours in Iraq. SSgt Biel’s birthday was June 27. Four years later, the Senate designated June as National PTSD Awareness Month.

Understanding PTSD

The goal of PTSD Awareness Day is to encourage open discussion about PTSD, including its causes and symptoms. The most important aspect of the day and the designated awareness month, though, is to help people who suffer from the anxiety disorder understand how they can get help.

PTSD is not just a condition suffered by members of the military. Research indicates that almost three-fourths of Americans have experienced a traumatic event at some point in their lives that could cause traumatic stress symptoms. About 20% of those will develop symptoms from their distressful experience.

Of those, about 8% will experience active PTSD symptoms. It is also estimated that about half of mental health patients are diagnosed with the anxiety disorder, related to a traumatic event or experience in their lives.

PTSD Causes

When an individual experiences a disturbing event, it can cause distress, fear, and even sadness. Often, those emotions will resolve themselves in a relatively short amount of time. When they don’t, however, that person could be experiencing PTSD. An event such as a crime, a car accident, an act of violence, or participation in a military battle can cause the disorder. Even being a witness to a violent crime or serious accident can impact a person’s emotions significantly.

Ongoing experiences can also be the cause of an individual’s post-traumatic stress disorder. The sudden or unexpected death of a loved one, abuse as a child or a spouse, and the uncertainty and isolation of a pandemic can also cause serious emotional responses that may not necessarily fade away with time.


The symptoms of PTSD usually appear within three months but can begin years afterward. To be diagnosed with the disorder, the symptoms must last more than a month and be so severe that they interfere with a person’s ability to maintain a relationship or function at work on a daily basis.

Symptoms are categorized into four different areas:

  • Re-experiencing – includes flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts. Situations, objects, or discussions that remind a person about the traumatic event can trigger these symptoms.
  • Avoidance – staying away from people, places, and events that are reminders of the traumatic experience. The individual will also try to avoid feelings or thoughts related to the event.
  • Arousal and reactivity – feeling on edge, being easily startled, experiencing angry outbursts, or having difficulty sleeping. These symptoms are usually constant, rather than being triggered by any particular place or person.
  • Cognition and mood – having trouble remembering the details of the traumatic event, experiencing negative feelings about the world or oneself, and losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable. These are identified as PTSD symptoms when they cannot be attributed to an injury or substance use.

Experiencing these symptoms can make the individual going through the anxiety disorder feel detached or alienated from friends and family members, which, in turn, can worsen their stress. PTSD is often experienced with another anxiety disorder, with depression, or with substance use issues.


If you find that you are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, help is available. PTSD awareness also means knowing how to get that help when you need it. At Sober Austin, we want you to find the resources you need to address your mental illness and addiction so you can move forward with a successful recovery.

We also understand that life can be even more challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. The dangers of denial are greater, though, so it’s important for you to know when it’s time to get help and how to get that help for your addiction.

Browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to contact us directly by calling (512) 522-7135 or emailing