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 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 prepared to help.
The first realistic thing you can do to help a loved one with PTSD is to know that what they’re dealing with is beyond them. If they’re being difficult, understand them with all your heart and mind. If you must do most of the chores at home, do so. It’s impossible to help an individual with PTSD until you yourself are prepared for it.
2. Know the treatment options.
There are two types of PTSD treatment that have been proven effective – counseling and medication. In recent years, researchers have brought forth new knowledge in the disorder’s causes and potential treatment. The more familiar you are about the subject, the more you can help your loved one’s situation.
3. Ask your loved one to mingle with other veterans with PTSD.
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 need to do is contact your local VA, and they will offer you options for your consideration.
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. Getting a person with PTSD to speak about what they’re going through is usually hard for family members, but professionals will know exactly how to go about it. 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.