PTSD Awareness Day Reminds Country that Freedom Isn’t Free for Everyone

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    Photo courtesy of Paws of War

    June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day, making it an ideal time to put the condition in the spotlight. According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects around 3.5% of the adult population yearly. They estimate that 1 in every 11 people will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime, with veterans suffering from PTSD at a much higher rate. There are various ways to cope with the condition, and one organization is helping do just that by pairing veterans with PTSD with service dogs, having given hundreds of trained dogs to veterans to date.

    “Veterans tend to suffer from PTSD at a significantly higher rate than the general population,” says Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “This reminds us that freedom isn’t free. Many military members develop PTSD while on deployment and the effects come home with them. We are doing everything we can to help them through our many support programs. These veterans come home to a new war, this time the war is with PTSD.”

    Since being founded in 2014, Paws of War has been rescuing dogs from kill shelters and providing them with the necessary training. They are paired with veterans, many with PTSD. Those who receive the dogs report that they provide them with more independence and help with their PTSD and quality of life. For some veterans, the dog is literally a lifesaver. Many tell Paws of War, that they are alive today because of their dog

    Some people may not know that they or those around them have PTSD. Knowing what the symptoms look like and what to do if they are identified is a good idea. According to the National Institutes of Health, the condition develops in those who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. The symptoms, which should be present for at least one month, include experiencing flashbacks, recurring memories or dreams related to the event, having distressing thoughts, and undergoing physical signs of stress.

    Most people with PTSD avoid putting themselves in a position that may remind them of the traumatic event. They also try to avoid any thoughts or feelings that are associated with it, which may lead to them changing their routine, being tense or on guard, having difficulty concentrating and sleeping, and being irritable or having aggressive outbursts. Those with PTSD also tend to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, feel isolated, and find it difficult to be happy.

    The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports that:

    • Recovery from PTSD is a process rather than something that happens overnight
    • Healing from PTSD is an ongoing daily process, with improvements being made a little at a time
    • Healing from PTSD should lead to fewer symptoms, more confidence to cope with the condition and feelings, and use of a variety of coping strategies

    “We like to say that we help at both ends of the leash,” added Misseri. “PTSD is an important issue that more people need to know about so that we can help our veterans who suffer from it.”


    Paws of War is currently helping a veteran and a firefighter, Rob and Russel, who are both heroes that suffer from PTSD. Unfortunately, they both know all too well what it’s like to suffer from it. Purple Heart recipient and U.S Marine, Russel Anderson and fire fighter Rob Weisberg are working hard to get the message out so others who are suffering don’t have to suffer alone.

    Russel came back from Afghanistan not the same person who left, and Rob was never the same after his heroic service at ground zero on 9/11.

    Rob Weisberg has started a six-month journey to walk from Georgia to Maine to spread awareness for PTSD and to help his fellow brothers and sisters, who need help getting a service dog and in support of Paws of War.

    Russel Anderson recently received a service dog in training and is spreading awareness to other combat veterans who are suffering like he was to educate them about what a service animal can do for them, and the services that Paws of War can provide. This is a critical time to strike because many of these veterans and first responders are suffering in silence. And they don’t want to waste a second getting the message out.

    To help support the mission in helping veterans with PTSD, visit: https://pawsofwar.org/?form=PTSD

    Paws of War has been operating nationwide since 2014, and worldwide helping the military save the animals they rescue while deployed overseas. They have helped veterans with numerous issues, including suicide prevention, service and support dogs, companion cats and dogs, food insecurity, veterinary care, etc. Paws of War has a large loyal following of supporters and looks forward to working with new corporate sponsors to support these life-saving programs. To donate, visit its site at: http://pawsofwar.org.

     

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