The National Center For Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, an arm of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), has designated the month of June as PTSD Awareness Month. By bringing attention to this mental illness, the VA hopes to reduce the stigma associated with it and educate people on the available treatment options for both veterans and non-military citizens alike.
Mental health experts aren’t sure why some people develop PTSD after experiencing trauma and others do not. When reactions to stressful events do not improve over time, fear, anxiety and other painful symptoms can make daily life extremely difficult, hence the name “post traumatic stress.” An estimated 5.2 million adults in the U.S. cope with PTSD each year.
These Notable People Have Experienced PTSD
Whoopi Goldberg witnessed two planes collide in midair as a child. As a comedienne, actress and talk show host, she’s required to travel frequently and has dealt with severe panic attacks when boarding planes. Goldberg has made it public that she receives therapy for her condition.
Monica Seles, a professional tennis player, suffered PTSD after being stabbed during a match in 1993. In her autobiography, Seles describes her difficulty in overcoming her condition enough to get back on the court and play.
Mick Jagger, lead sing of the iconic rock band The Rolling Stones, developed PTSD after his girlfriend, L’Wren Scott committed suicide in their home. Doctors ordered the grief stricken Jagger to avoid performing for 30 days to prevent his symptoms from deteriorating further.
Darrell Hammond, famous Saturday Night Live comedian and impressionist has spoken publicly about his diagnosis of PTSD. Severely abused as a child, Hammond dealt with years of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as self-harming. He has since become an advocate for treatment and is living a sober lifestyle.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the first lady to President John F. Kennedy, experienced the assassination of her husband firsthand. While never officially diagnosed, a recent biography on her life details her obsessive retelling of the event to anyone who would listen, her troubles sleeping and crippling fear that she, too, would be a target.
Alanis Morissette, singer/songwriter, suffered from PTSD due to her quick rise to fame for the album Jagged Little Pill. “It was an intense, constant, chronic over-stimulation and invasion of energetic and physical literal space,” she said in an interview. Alanis claims that she’s still coping with these issues.
Barbara Streisand, iconic singer and actress, didn’t perform live for 30 years after a single performance in New York’s Central Park where she forgot the lyrics to a song she was singing. Streisand developed an intense fear of performance, and only overcame it after receiving both therapy and medication.
People who suffer from PTSD are 9 times more likely to experience issues of drug and alcohol abuse and dependence. The combination of these illnesses complicate the symptoms and are referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Receiving the proper diagnosis for PTSD is an important first step in dealing with this treatable disease.
During the month of June, take the opportunity to learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder and the many treatment options for those who are suffering from it.