IRON MOUNTAIN — With June being national PTSD awareness month, it is important for friends and family of combat veterans to have an understanding of what exactly the disorder is.

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is an anxiety disorder that effects up to forty percent of combat veterans. This disorder is classified as anxiety related because it can interfere with daily life functions but can also only appear periodically. Reminders or triggers of past traumatic events can lead someone who suffers from PTSD to have a relapse.

Recent research has found that PTSD is not just an emotional or psychological disorder but the brain is in fact effected.

“PTSD believe it or not, we are finding more and more out about it, as we say, it’s not in their head, it’s in their brain.” Said Veteran Justice Outreach Coordinator/PTSD Therapist, Mike Matwyuk, “we’re actually finding that there are physiological changes that occur in the brain because of PTSD.”

There are a wide range of treatments available to people who suffer from PTSD. Some of these treatments include cognitive behavior techniques, exposure therapy, and imagery rehearsal therapy which helps redevelop pathways in the brain to different dreams rather than painful nightmares. A number of recommendations can be kept in mind to improve communication with someone who suffers from PTSD.

“Saying I know what you’re going through because nobody does, even myself as a combat vet, I don’t know what another combat vet is going through. I understand but I don’t know” Matwyuk continued.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when speaking to someone who has PTSD is to not pry and let them open up to you.