Do you have a loved one suffering from PTSD? Post-traumatic stress disorder, or more commonly referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition that can develop after a traumatic experience.
This disorder can develop in people who have experienced war, natural disasters and many other types of traumatic events. It’s not just veterans who are affected by PTSD; there are many people of all ages and backgrounds who suffer from it.
The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11-20% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have PTSD, which makes it one of the most common mental health disorder among military service members. While there are many programs out there to help veterans with this disorder, it’s often difficult for them and their families to deal with this condition.
A lot of family members are at loss on how to react when they find out their veteran has PTSD. It can be hard for loved ones to understand what their family member is going through, and even harder for them to know how they can help. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what veterans need because each person responds differently when faced with trauma in their lives. This blog post will cover some of the ways that you can help your loved one who has been diagnosed with PTSD.
Educate yourself on PTSD
If you are not familiar with PTSD, it will be easy to misinterpret a loved one who is suffering from this condition. You might mistake their anger outbursts, depression, or mood swings for attitude problems and this could affect your relationship.
The first step in helping a veteran deal with PTSD is to learn more about the disorder. It can give you an insight on what the veteran is going through. Being aware of what PTSD is and how it affects the person suffering from it can also broaden your understanding towards that person.
Encourage them to talk about what they’re feeling and listen without judgment
When a veteran comes home from war, it can be difficult for them to express what they’re feeling and how they’re struggling. While there will be times when they just want to be left alone, there will also be times when they need someone to talk to but are hesitant to open up.
Let your veteran loved one know that you care for them and that you can be there if they need a listening ear. Encourage them to share their feelings by talking to them about their experience and listening without criticism or judgment. Keep in mind that people often need to open up without necessarily needing your opinion. What they need is your presence and support.
Find a support group for veterans with PTSD
Many veterans often feel alone and isolated, thinking that they don’t have anyone around them who understands what it’s like to go through something like PTSD. One solution is to help them look for support groups for veterans with PTSD.
Speaking with people who had the same experiences can be beneficial to their condition. It can also help them gain inspiration from the learning of other group members. If there are no support groups in your area, you can check for online support groups that your veteran loved one can join in.
Refer them to a therapist or counselor who specializes in PTSD
Veterans who are suffering from PTSD often tend to self-medicate. Many veterans turn to different coping mechanisms to forget about what they are struggling with. What’s unfortunate is that some of these coping mechanisms are unhealthy such as drug and alcohol abuse. While drugs and alcohol can provide temporary relief, they do not solve the problem. In fact, turning to these addictive substances can worsen PTSD and could develop into a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring disorder is when someone is diagnosed with a mental health condition and a substance abuse problem at the same time.
This is why it is very important to help your veteran loved one to get professional treatment for their PTSD. This could help them find healthy coping strategies and avoid drugs and alcohol. If you have a veteran loved one with PTSD whom you believe is already struggling with substance abuse, the best course of action is to help them seek professional help. Finding a treatment center that specializes in co-occurring disorders which will treat the PTSD and the substance abuse problem at the same time is essential.
If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD and substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment Center Today.