The role of a veteran’s family and friends is crucial, especially during difficult moments. In most cases, those who are close to the veteran will be the first to see if something is wrong.
If someone you love is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rest in the fact that this condition is treatable and you can help the person can get their life back. 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 and foremost, make sure you know that no matter how hard the situation may seem, your loved one has no choice. 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. Know the treatment options.
Counseling and medication are two established approaches for treating PTSD. More recently, researchers have significantly increased understanding of the causes of the disorder, as well as how to treat it. The more you know about the subject, the more you can help your loved one.
3. Ask your loved one to mingle with 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 someone with a mental health condition who has received training and certification that enables them to help others dealing with their own mental issues. 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 often difficult for family members to get a person with the disorder to talk, but a professional will know exactly what to do to gain the veteran’s trust and confidence. These coaches are experienced and trained, so it’s no surprise that veterans with the disorder have a better chance of responding positively to treatment when they are in the hands of experts.
5. Create an environment conducive for self-help.
Finally, try to encourage your loved one to maintain a few general self-care practices in their day-to-day routine. For example, you can introduce them to self-help tools for PTSD management, like mobile apps that provide treatment options. Self-care reinforces feelings of being in control, which is very important for any veteran on the road to full healing.