Dealing With PTSD

Dealing with a PTSD Diagnosis

If your veteran has been diagnosed with PTSD, understanding the disorder yourself, and encouraging your loved one to get help for his or her condition will benefit the entire family.

PTSD can happen to anyone.

Just as anyone can return from battle with a physical injury, anyone can return from combat with PTSD.

Be patient.

Recovery takes time, even with treatment.

Anticipate PTSD triggers.

Common triggers include anniversary dates, and people or places associated with the original trauma. Certain sights, sounds or smells–like the odor of diesel fumes or the shouts of children playing–can take a veteran back to a street in Baghdad where a traumatic event occurred. Recognize the triggers that may cause your veteran to have an upsetting reaction, and encourage them to recognize and prepare for them themselves.

Don’t take the PTSD symptoms personally.

Common PTSD symptoms include emotional numbness, anger and withdrawal. If your loved one seems distant or closed off, remember that this may have nothing to do with you or your relationship.

Don’t pressure your loved one to talk.

As important as it is for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences, many have difficult talking about them, especially with family members. For some, it can even make things worse. Never try to force your loved one to open up. Let them know, however, that you’re there when and if he or she wants someone to listen.

Additional Resources:
Click here for the National Center for PTSD presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and a series of links about PTSD for veterans, the general public and mental health providers/researchers.
Click on this link presented by the American Academy of Family Physicians for a formal definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including the risks and symptoms of PTSD. The site includes insightful videos that discuss treatment of PTSD and other anxiety disorders.
Click here to learn more about building resilience during a time of war, including specific information for children and teens as presented by the American Psychological Association (APA).