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Helping a Veteran Who Has PTSD

The role of a veteran’s family and friends is crucial, especially during difficult moments. 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. 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.

Here are five ways you can make life better for a veteran with PTSD:

1. Be prepared to 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. Unless you can rise above the situation, you can never help a person with PTSD.

2. Educate yourself about treatment options.

The top two proven methods of treating PTSD are 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.

Seek support from your local VA, where you can make arrangements for your loved one to attend counseling with Peer Specialists, with the family or in group therapy sessions. 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. Just connect with your local VA and they will help you explore options and resources.

4. Hire a coach.

Yes, it’s possible to have a professional coach help your loved one through his PTSD battles, and some coaches will even do it 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. Because of their knowledge, training and experience, these coaches are able to create a positive outcome when treating veterans with PTSD.

5. Encourage self-help.

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 reinforces feelings of being in control, which is very important for any veteran on the road to full healing.

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