As our troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, mental health issues such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are receiving more attention. Common symptoms of PTSD (re-experiencing, hyperarousal, and numbing and avoidance) in soldiers include the avoidance of Fourth of July celebrations, large crowds of people and other things that “trigger” a re-experiencing of the traumatic event, and avoiding thoughts and feelings that serve as reminders. Over time, the list of people, places, and situations to avoid grows. A person might avoid going to the movies, to the mall, to family gatherings, to the grocery store, and soon find themselves confined to a few places and activities, perhaps even confined to their own home. Some may find themselves waking up in the middle of the night from a nightmare; others might not wake until morning, only to find their bed sheets in a mess and feeling as though they hadn’t slept.

That said, I want to point out that it will naturally take time to re-adjust to being in a different place, even if that place is “home.” When PTSD symptoms continue for a period of more than 30 days, it may be time to seek help.