“I Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” Card from New Mexico Solutions

New Mexico Solutions
“I Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” Card

Dr. David Ley, Executive Director at New Mexico Solutions, has provided to DBSA Albuquerque a PDF version of NM Solutions’ brilliant “I Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” card that is now available to download and print from the DBSA Albuquerque website.

New Mexico Solutions “I Have PTSD” Printable Card


What is the New Mexico Solutions
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Card?
How Can the NM Solutions PTSD Card Help Me?

The NM Solutions PTSD Card is developed to be carried by peers in their purse, their wallet, or even in their pocket, and is something that a peer experiencing symptoms of PTSD can provide to law enforcement, medical providers, first responders, and anyone who could benefit knowing that, when in crisis, sometimes we peers just need a few moments to collect ourselves, to employ our coping skills, to tap into our mindfulness exercises, to think through our WRAP (Wellness and Recovery Action Plan), and with these few moments we can often subdue these PTSD symptoms on our own.

Sometimes, PTSD symptoms can appear to be confrontational, or these symptoms can make us momentarily unresponsive. It isn’t a matter of defiance or an inability to cooperate. The symptoms of PTSD can manifest unexpectedly and can be overwhelming. Anxiety, fear, panic, confusion, disassociation, difficult breathing… these are all symptoms common to PTSD.

For some peers, encounters with law enforcement and first responders is a potentially significant trigger for PTSD symptoms, and in these situations it’s often difficult or nearly impossible to communicate this simple message that is on the NM Solutions PTSD Card:

“I sometimes have panic attacks in response to challenging situations. If I seem anxious, upset, or am having trouble breathing, please just give me a few minutes and allow me to calm down. Please do not think I am defying your instructions or refusing to cooperate. I appreciate your understanding of my condition.”

In these instances, the New Mexico Solutions PTSD Card is a perfect solution for a very real need for many, many peers.

At DBSA Albuquerque, we have made the NM Solutions PTSD Card available at our weekly support groups. Now, we can offer visitors to our site the opportunity to download and print this card for yourself, your loved one, and your community.


What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Source: http://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/mental

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is characterized as the development of debilitating symptoms following exposure to a traumatic or dangerous event. These can include re-experiencing symptoms from an event, such as flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance symptoms, changing a personal routine to escape having to be reminded of an event, or being hyper-aroused (easily startled or tense) that makes daily tasks nearly impossible to complete. PTSD was first identified as a result of symptoms experienced by soldiers and those in war; however, other traumatic events, such as rape, child abuse, car accidents, and natural disasters have also been shown to give rise to PTSD.

It is estimated that more than 7.7 million people in the United States could be diagnosed as having a PTSD with women being more likely to have the disorder when compared to men.

Risk for PTSD is separated into three categories, including pre-traumatic, peri-traumatic, and posttraumatic factors.

  • Pre-traumatic factors include childhood emotional problems by age 6, lower socioeconomic status, lower education, prior exposure to trauma, childhood adversity, lower intelligence, minority racial/ethnic status, and a family psychiatric history. Female gender and younger age at exposure may also contribute to pre-traumatic risk.
  • Peri-traumatic factors include the severity of the trauma, perceived life threat, personal injury, interpersonal violence, and dissociation during the trauma that persists afterwards.
  • Post-traumatic risk factors include negative appraisals, ineffective coping strategies, subsequent exposure to distressing reminders, subsequent adverse life events, and other trauma-related losses.

Diagnosis of PTSD must be preceded by exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or violence. This may entail directly experiencing or witnessing the traumatic event, learning that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or friend, or repeated exposure to distressing details of the traumatic event. Individuals diagnosed with PTSD experience intrusive symptoms (for example, recurrent upsetting dreams, flashbacks, distressing memories, intense psychological distress), avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event, and negative changes in cognition and mood corresponding with the traumatic event (for example, dissociative amnesia, negative beliefs about oneself, persistent negative affect, feelings of detachment or estrangement). They also experience significant changes in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic events, such as hypervigilance, distractibility, exaggerated startle response, and irritable or self-destructive behavior.

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