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.
The following are five ways to improve the life of a veteran going through PTSD:
1. Be ready to provide help.
First and foremost, make sure you know that no matter how hard the situation may seem, your loved one has no choice. If they’re being difficult, understand them with all your heart and mind. If you have to do more of the household tasks, let it be. You can never help someone with PTSD unless you are ready.
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. The more familiar you are about the subject, the more you can help your loved one’s situation.
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 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. Encourage 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, download some PTSD self-help tools on their mobile phone or laptop, such as apps that provide tips for managing symptoms. Self-care reinforces feelings of being in control, which is very important for any veteran on the road to full healing.