Fight or Flight

holding hands

It's that feeling you get when you hear a strange noise at night. 

Fight or flight is an instinct that helps us survive dangerous situations – but for some, it can trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

"That same fight versus flight, which perhaps enabled them to survive that initial threat, continues to rear its ugly head over and over at anything that even resembles the initial threat," said SwedishAmerican's Dr. James Cole. 

Because PTSD affects eight percent of the U.S. population, and June is PTSD Awareness Month, Dr. Cole offered some insights on the disorder:

As with many mental illnesses, those who suffer with PTSD are often distanced from loved ones because of the stigma of mental health problems in our society.

PTSD has a biological component, and should not be viewed as a sign of weakness.

PTSD affects women twice as often as men.

Those with PTSD can find hope and live a satisfying life with the help of a mental health professional. Veterans seeking help can find assistance by calling 1-800-273-8255.

Everyone can help PTSD sufferers by being open-minded and supportive.

"We must be more open to helping all of those afflicted by all forms of illness – including mental illness," said Dr. Cole. "We must neither vilify nor stigmatize those with a psychiatric condition. Society must be as accepting, understanding and compassionate toward those with mental disability as it has become to those with developmental and physical disabilities."