Veterans aren’t the only ones who suffer daily as a result of PTSD. Their families and friends often suffer as well. If you are a close family member or a spouse of a veteran with PTSD you may have noticed a dramatic change in your loved one’s behavior, emotions and demeanor since they came back from war. It is very likely that your loved one’s changes and emotions due to the trauma they have suffered affects you. In fact, if you live with someone with PTSD, it’s very unlikely that the changes wouldn’t have an effect on you. However, hope isn’t lost and never should be. There are a few things you can do to learn how to help someone in your family with PTSD, one of which is learning about what they’re going through.
How do you know your loved one has PTSD?
You may feel as though you are walking on eggshells around someone with PTSD. They are often easily startled and seem as though they are off in another world, anywhere but home in the present. You may have noticed that they frequently wake up from nightmares, or have trouble sleeping at all. If your spouse has PTSD, you may have noticed that he or she often forgets simple and basic things like picking up milk or birthdays or anniversaries. They may have become antisocial, and don’t like going places or doing things they used to like doing.
A family member with PTSD may become angry and aggressive at times, committing violent acts that he or she would never have done at home before. His or her paranoia and preoccupation with danger may also make you and your family feel unsafe.
What are some common experiences of family members of those with PTSD?
If your loved one is behaving in these ways, it is most likely affecting you and your health as well. Common emotions and problems experienced by family members of those with PTSD from combat trauma include depression, anger, frustration, avoidance of the same things your loved one wishes to avoid, and guilt for feeling angry or not being able to make a difference. You may have also started to drink, smoke or participate in other activities that are unhealthy in an effort to cope.
How can I help someone in the family
If you’re wondering how to help someone in your family with PTSD from war, one of the best things you can do for your loved one is to learn more about it in an effort to better understand what they are going through. This will help you provide support in ways that might be counter-intuitive, but effective. To learn more about how to help or support someone with PTSD, see our resources page.
Do you know a friend or family member that could benefit from PTSD treatment? Nominate him or her today for the Warrior’s Path and help them take the first step towards living a life free of PTSD.
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Learn More about The Path and The Project
Operation: Warrior’s Path is a program by warriors for warriors suffering from combat trauma. We provide PTSD therapies that have been proven to work for veterans, and we offer a path for those to find their way back from war trauma to take care of their families and be active members of society and of their communities.