Breaking the Stigma: Raising Awareness and Understanding of PTSD


PTSD remains highly stigmatized, preventing many from seeking help. By increasing public understanding of PTSD’s causes, symptoms and available treatments, we can break destructive stereotypes and finally end the stigma.

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD stems from experiencing an extremely traumatic event involving actual or threatened death, injury, or sexual violence. It is not a sign of weakness. Symptoms manifest from neurological changes and conditioned fear responses. Anyone can develop PTSD after severe trauma.

Common Symptoms and Co-Occurring Issues

Beyond re-experiencing trauma and hyperarousal, PTSD often involves emotional numbness, negative self-view, and avoidance of trauma reminders. Depression, substance abuse, physical pain, and suicidal thoughts frequently accompany PTSD as well.

Overcoming Treatment Barriers

Stigma often deters trauma victims from pursuing treatment. Some fear judgment as weak. Others lack financial access to care. Veterans encounter VA backlogs. We must confront barriers inhibiting people from seeking support.

PTSD Impacts Both Veterans and Civilians

While combat trauma is most associated with PTSD, it results from any overwhelming trauma like accidents, disaster, violence, or abuse. Rates among sexual assault survivors and frontline workers are also high. PTSD afflicts both military and civilian populations.

Improving Treatment Options

Along with therapy and medication, emerging treatments like trauma-focused yoga, support animals, immersion virtual reality exposure therapy, brainspotting, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy show great promise for PTSD management.

The Road to Recovery is Possible

With compassion, understanding and access to effective care, those affected can better manage PTSD symptoms, process trauma, and regain quality of life. PTSD does not have to define a person or their future. Recovery is achievable.


PTSD is a serious but treatable condition caused by severe trauma. By increasing awareness and dismantling misconceptions, we can support the well-being of all people impacted by PTSD. It is time to replace stigma with understanding.

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