The role of a veteran’s family and friends is crucial, especially during difficult moments. Usually, people who are close to the veteran will be the first to notice if there are any problems.
If you love someone who is going through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), know that they can be treated for this condition and that you can help them get through it. It has been done many times before, with spouses, partners, family members and friends all contributing to their loved one’s success in overcoming their PTSD-related challenges.
Below are five ways you can support a veteran with PTSD:
1. Be ready to help your loved one.
First off, be aware that whatever your loved one is dealing with because of PTSD is out of their control. So if you feel like they’re being so touchy or volatile, just understand where they’re coming from and don’t make it worse. If you have to do more things around the house, just do them anyway. It’s impossible to help an individual with PTSD until you yourself are prepared for it.
2. Educate yourself about treatment options.
There are two types of PTSD treatment that have been proven effective – counseling and medication. More recently, researchers have significantly increased understanding of the causes of the disorder, as well as how to treat it. If you have more knowledge on the subject, your ability to help your loved one improves.
3. Encourage your loved one to talk with other veterans in a similar position.
Approach your local VA and ask for support via a Peer Specialist, who can help your loved one through counseling, either individually or with the family, or in group therapy sessions. A Peer Specialist is an individual who has a mental health condition, but has received training and certification to help others struggling with their own mental problems. All you have to do is get in touch with your local VA and you will be provided options that you can consider.
4. Get a coach.
Yes, you can bring in a professional coach who can help your loved one through the entire ordeal, and in some cases, this can even be offered for free. It’s not easy to have a family member with the disorder talk about his thoughts and feelings, but this is something an expert will know exactly how to do. Because of their knowledge, training and experience, these coaches are able to create a positive outcome when treating veterans with PTSD.
5. Create an environment conducive for self-help.
Finally, encourage your loved one with PTSD to try to maintain a level of self-care with their daily life. For instance, you can acquaint them with PTSD self-help tools, like mobile apps that teach how to handle symptoms. Self-care allows people to feel in control of themselves, which is something veterans with PTSD need en route to recovery.