PTSD

Raising awareness on Veteran’s Day

Right now, there are almost 22 million American veterans living in the United States, and every one of them has a story to tell. So today, we’re honoring their service by raising awareness for life after the military. Like many others who are living with chronic conditions, the injuries our military men and women sustain are not always visible. Thousands of veterans are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 30,000 have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) since 2000 and many others are living with depression. Sometimes their symptoms don’t even manifest until many years after their service. These eye-opening statistics are why we’ve recently announced a new multi-year collaboration with One Mind to help the millions of people worldwide who are experiencing post-traumatic stress traumatic brain injury, or both. We’ll work together to expand and enhance the PatientsLikeMe online registry experience for people with these conditions, to provide better resources for day-to-day living, and to capture more patient-reported data for research. If you’re looking to learn more about US veterans, head to your nearest book store and grab a copy of “For Love of Country,” Howard Schultz’s and Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s new book (just released on November 4). Check out …

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“I was just doing my job” – PatientsLikeMe member Lucas talks about his experiences with PTSD after serving in the Marines

PatientsLikeMe member Lucas (Freedom666420), or Sarge, as his friends and fellow soldiers call him, served in the Marines during two tours in Iraq and was injured while literally hoisting his entire squad up and over a wall to take cover from enemy fire. He recently spoke with Sarah, a PatientsLikeMe community moderator, and shared about his experiences in an interview. Lucas talked about his recurring insomnia and nightmares, and how quitting alcohol and speaking with fellow veterans has helped him cope with his PTSD. Read what he had to say below. Will you tell us a little about your story? I enlisted in the military right before I turned 18, graduated basic training about a week after I turned 18. I was in the Marine Corps for about three years total after all the paper work was done. I was discharged medically- honorable retirement discharge because I was injured. I was on my second tour, about half way through when we were taking air fire and I was trying to get everybody over the wall and I looked back, after I got the last person over, I looked back to make sure everything was clear and that’s when I saw an …

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It’s time to recognize mental illness in October

Think about this for a second; according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 4 people, or 25% of American adults, will be diagnosed with a mental illness this year. On top of that, 20 percent of American children (1 in 5) will also be diagnosed. And so for 7 days, October 5th to 11th, we’ll be spreading the word for Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). What exactly is a mental illness? According to NAMI, “A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. [They] are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.” There are many types of mental illnesses. The list includes conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar II, depression, schizophrenia and more. MIAW is about recognizing the effects of every condition and learning what it’s like to live day-to-day with a mental illness. This week, you can get involved by reading and sharing NAMI’s fact sheet on mental illness and using NAMI’s social media badges and images on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MIAW14 if you …

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“This is a very serious issue” – PatientsLikeMe member Jess shares about her PTSD

Talking about past trauma isn’t easy – so we want to say thank you to Jess right off the bat. She’s a PatientsLikeMe member who suffered a TBI, and she recently talked with us about her experiences. Jess walked us through her accident and her diagnosis and went on to explain that even though you may not see visible symptoms, a person can still be suffering on the inside. Will you tell us about your story and what happened? On January 11, 2012, when my husband Tim, my daughter Amanda and I left home around 5:45 PM to pick up my friend’s children for church, we had no idea how much our lives would forever be changed. Statistics show most accidents are within 2 miles of your home, but I wonder what statistics are for accidents caused by your neighbor’s teenage daughter. I was driving and waiting to turn into the development where my friend lives, and as I looked in my rearview mirror, I noticed headlights coming closer and getting brighter. I started yelling to my husband that the car behind us isn’t slowing down. I tried to hit the gas, BANG…I remember seeing the Ford emblem on my steering wheel, …

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Keeping up awareness for PTSD

  Back in the beginning of June, we posted about PTSD Awareness Month, and now, we’re keeping the awareness going strong for PTSD Awareness Day. To help put a face on PTSD, we shared a bunch of videos from AboutFace, a website produced by the National Center for PTSD that’s all about telling real stories of veterans living with the condition. To get a different perspective, we also thought we’d share a few of their video interviews with clinicians. Here are some to check out…   Stephanie Dove Social worker My advice to you- “I meet a lot of veterans who don’t want to come to the VA for treatment … because they’re afraid of the stigma. PTSD is a normal, understandable reaction to the experiences that many veterans have been through…” Dr. Ron Acierno Clinical Psychologist How to know you’re ready for help- “Well, if you wait, you’re never going to be ready. Getting ready for treatment is like ‘how do I know I’m ready to get in better shape?’ If you’re feeling pain, you’re ready for treatment.” Dr. Sonya Norman Clinical Psychologist What treatment can do for you- “Feeling better can mean so many different things to different …

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“I know that it will pass eventually” – PatientsLikeMe member Jennifer shares about her PTSD

June is National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, and recently, Jennifer (aka sortaborderline) spoke about her personal experiences with the neurological condition. She talked all about learning to roll with her triggers, leaning on her family and PatientsLikeMe members for support, and recognizing the relationship between her fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and PTSD. Check out her full interview below.   What went through your mind when you were first diagnosed with PTSD? I already thought that PTSD was the problem, but it was such a relief to know that I wasn’t “losing my mind.” I have a legitimate disorder, not something that I can wish away or just “try harder” to ignore or push through. I actually felt empowered. Now I knew for sure what was going on, so I could work on treating it. Putting a name to the disorder really helped take a lot of the fear out of it for me. When I am triggered, I know why and I know that it will pass eventually. Just that little bit of information gives me so much more power over it as opposed to before when I didn’t know what was happening. What have you …

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Putting a face on PTSD

The National Center for PTSD has named June Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, and over the next few weeks, we’ll all be learning, connecting and sharing about it to better help everyone living with the neurological condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 7.7 million adults are living with PTSD in the U.S., and although it affects many military veterans, anyone can experience post-traumatic stress at any age.1 There is no known cure, but it’s usually treated through psychotherapy, medications or sometimes a combination of both. So, who are some of the millions that are living with PTSD, and what are their stories? Here are just a few from AboutFace, a website produced by the National Center for PTSD that’s all about telling real stories of veterans living with the condition. Click on any of the images to hear what they have to say. Mary C. “Katie” Weber US Army (1993 – 1995) PFC, Transportation Management Coordinator Germany When I knew I needed help- “I was suffering in silence. I was allowing myself to become more and more depressed … so much so that my family became extremely concerned and suggested that I go to the VA.” …

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Patients as Partners: The Perceived Medical Condition Self-Management Scale questionnaire results

Back at the beginning of April, we launched a new blog series called Patients as Partners that highlights the results and feedback PatientsLikeMe members give to questionnaires on our Open Research Exchange (ORE) platform. This time around, we’re sharing the results of the Perceived Medical Condition Self-Management Scale (PMCSMS), a health measure that looks at how confident people are in managing their own conditions. More than 1,500 members from 9 different condition communities on PatientsLikeMe took part. They worked with our research partner Ken Wallston from Vanderbilt University to make the tool the best it can be. (Thank you to everyone that participated! This is your data doing good.) Check out the PMCSMS results and keep your eyes peeled for more ORE questionnaire results as we continue the series on the blog. What’s ORE all about again? PatientsLikeMe’s ORE platform gives patients the chance to not only check an answer box, but also share their feedback on each question in a researcher’s health measure. They can tell our research partners what makes sense, what doesn’t, and how relevant the overall tool is to their condition. It’s all about collaborating with patients as partners to create the most effective tools for measuring disease.

Achieving wellness: An interview on mental health with Dr. Murali Doraiswamy

Murali Doraiswamy is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University where he is also a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. He also serves as an advisor to government agencies and businesses. Dr Doraiswamy is the brain health advisor for Men’s Health magazine and serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Neuroscience and Behavior. What’s his take on PatientsLikeMe? What does he see as emerging mental health treatments? And what does he wish more people knew about mental illness? We recently had the chance to chat with him about all that and more. Check out what he had to say in our interview.   What interests you about studying and learning more about mental illness? To me it’s one of the most important public health challenges for the 21st century – the mind affects every aspect of our body, our physical wellbeing and our family and social relationships. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a staggering 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions, making them one of the leading causes of poor health and loss of productivity worldwide (some 175 million years lost to disability). Mental illnesses, such as …

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“Take the step.” Raising awareness for post traumatic stress disorder

June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and the US Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to raise awareness of the condition. About 60% of men and 50% of women will go through at least one traumatic event in their life, and 5.2 million adults will experience PTSD during any given year.[1] Here are just a few useful tools to check out… A mobile phone app that provides self-help, education and support An assessment tool to better understand how PTSD is measured 10 Steps to Help, with knowledge and links to help you or others you might know who are living with PTSD Clinical trail tool to find studies you might be eligible for right in your neighborhood If you’re living with PTSD, find others just like you in our growing community of more than 5,000 PTSD patients on PatientsLikeMe. Learn what they’re doing to manage their condition with symptom and treatment reports, and share your own experience with a personal health profile or in the community forums. [1] http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/how-common-is-ptsd.asp

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