In case you haven’t already heard, April is National Stress Awareness Month. Why do we as a nation spend an entire month on this topic?
Because we need to.
Just to put the insidiousness of stress into perspective, here are a few statistics from the American Psychological Association:
- Highly stressed teenagers are twice as likely to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs.
- Stress contributes to such life-threatening problems as heart attack, stroke, depression and infection, as well as to chronic aches and pains.
- Three quarters of Americans experience symptoms related to stress in a given month.
- About half of Americans (48%) feel that their stress has increased over the past five years.
- About half of Americans (48%) report lying awake at night due to stress.
We are basically a nation of stressed out individuals. And many other countries are following our (in this case) bad example.
Now, some stress can be good for us. Most of us learn, for better or worse, to live with a certain degree of stress.
But for some people, stress becomes a way of life.
It isn’t by accident that we use the acronym PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) to diagnose those individuals who experience the worst that stress has to offer.
For them, learning to live with stress means giving up a chance at a normal life. PTSD doesn’t always go away on its own, which means that help can be necessary.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 7.7 million American adults have PTSD in any given year.
About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.
What percentage of our Iraqi and Afghani veterans will experience PTSD?
We can only guess at this point. But given that so many reserve forces have been used from throughout the country, it’s unavoidable that each state will see increases in PTSD as our brave soldiers come home.
Are we as a nation ready to treat them?
We’ve created a new teleseminar series, the Rethinking Trauma series.
Each of the six experts will provide cutting edge information for understanding and treating trauma.