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Helping a Veteran Who Has PTSD

Family members and friends have a big role to play in helping a veteran get back to normal life. Naturally, any signs of problems will be first observed by those who are close to the veteran.

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. Spouses, partners, family members and friends have seen this happen many times before, after doing what they could to help their loved one defeat PTSD.

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. You can never help someone with PTSD unless you are ready.

2. Educate yourself about treatment options.

The top two proven methods of treating PTSD are counseling and medication. In recent years, researchers have brought forth new knowledge in the disorder’s causes and potential treatment. The more you know about the subject, the more you can help your loved one.

3. Encourage your loved one to open up to other veterans with PTSD.

Your local VA can assign a Peer Specialist to counsel your loved one individually, with the family, or in a group therapy with other veterans who also have PTSD. 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 need to do is contact your local VA, and they will offer you options for your consideration.

4. Hire 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. Such coaches are knowledgeable, trained and experienced, so they can usually elicit positive responses from veterans with the disorder.

5. Encourage your loved one to help themselves.

Lastly, encourage the veteran to continue to practice self-care on an everyday basis. For example, download some PTSD self-help tools on their mobile phone or laptop, such as apps that provide tips for managing symptoms. Self-care allows people to feel in control of themselves, which is something veterans with PTSD need en route to recovery.

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