Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

June 20, 2013

Today is National PTSD Screening Day


A simple acronym that encapsulates a disorder impacting the lives of approximately 7 million Americans who are finding trouble mentally and emotionally processing a life-threatening or terrifying event that has occurred in their lives.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder can happen to anybody who has been in an emergency situation or gotten a scare,” explained retired licensed psychologist Sam Hopkins of Jacksonville. “There certainly is such a thing as seeing too much.”

Events like a car accident or “seeing a tornado come at you … just anything that can create a great terror,” can trigger PTSD, because a person “feels a great threat, and that reaction is overwhelming – there's a price people pay when they see too much tragedy or death,” he said.

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and today is national PTSD Screening Day. Free, anonymous screenings available through the website PTSDScreening.org for individuals seeking to identify whether their symptoms are consistent with those of PTSD.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, PTSD symptoms “typically start within three months of a traumatic event,” although in a small number of cases, these may not appear until years later.

Symptoms can come and go, and “are generally grouped into three types: Intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety of emotional arousal.”

“In World War I, it was known as shell-shock, and as combat fatigue in World War II,” Hopkins said, explaining PTSD. “During the Vietnam War, it (became known as) a psychiatric trauma, and while PTSD is certainly not synonymous with vets, it is identified with vets because of their war experiences.”

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that PTSD can develop at any age, but research reveals that the median age of onset is 23 years, and that 3.5 percent of the national population ages 18 and older are affected in a given year.

“PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm,” and the one who develops the disorder “may have been the one harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers,” according to NIMH.

While the it was first brought to public attention “in relation to war veterans … (PTSD) can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, (vehicular) accidents … plane crashes, bombings or natural disasters,” NIMH states.

The odds of dealing with PTSD may seem insurmountable, but Hopkins reassures that “one can overcome” the disorder through medication and/or counseling.

Medications can help soften the effects of PTSD “and keep it from being so severe. The memory can fade and we can process the emotional side of events (to a point where) we are able to get over bad events with the passage of time,” he said.

Counseling gives a person the tools needed to heal.

“One of the things that has helped veterans (dealing with PTSD) has been talking to other veterans with a similar experience ~ they help give (each other) words they might not have had before (to express what they're going through) … it's shop talk, where they bond over common experiences.”

It also allows that person a chance “to open up to another person,” allowing a process similar to the grieving process to take place, thus creating an opportunity for his or her healing, he said.

“When people are wounded psychologically, they sometimes withdraw into themselves (slowing down that healing process,” he said.

Locally, individuals can contact the Anderson-Cherokee Counties Enrichment Services, which provides counseling service, behavioral therapy and short-term therapy for individuals with brain and behavioral disorders.

While PTSD may not be on the current list of approved diagnoses set forth by the State of Texas, “some of the symptoms – like depression and anxiety features – are things we do treat, said ACCESS Chief Executive Director Ted Debbs.

“No matter what may be the cause, it's one of those things that we're here for – a person can come in and we can assess (their situation), and even if they're not eligible for (ACCESS programs), we will try to help – we want to be that front door (because) it's a complicated system. We want to be there for anybody who needs help by showing them where they can go,” he said.

However, “crisis work supersedes” the state-approved diagnostics, so “we can provide for someone no matter what possible diagnostic or problem may be in a crisis situation,” Debbs said.

The Jacksonville ACCESS Clinic, which can be reached at 903-586-5507, is located at 5656 N. Jackson, while the Palestine clinic is at 3220 S. Loop 256. The Palestine facility can be reached at 903-723-6136.

Text Only
Local News
  • UPDATE: County co-op says many customers may not have power until Friday

    July 24, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • 2014-2015 Jacksonville Leadership Institute opens enrollment

    What is Jacksonville Leadership Institute?
    Jacksonville Leadership Institute is a program through the Jacksonville, Texas Chamber of Commerce. A new class is formed each September.

    July 24, 2014

  • Jacksonville continues its mosquito spraying schedule

    The City of Jacksonville will continue implementing its summer mosquito spraying program next week by spraying areas 7 and 11.

    July 24, 2014

  • RuskProtestMain.tif Rusk protest highlights views concerning border issues

    Several Texans gathered Saturday in Rusk -- not only to protest the recent federally-sponsored flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S., but to demand state officials to do something about it.
    Nearly 20 concerned citizens gathered at the intersection of U.S. highways 69 and 84 Saturday afternoon, waving flags and hand-lettered signs asking for secure borders and better action on the matter.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014