Each year we recognize PTSD in the month of June and as we enter a new month, I would like to focus on understanding PTSD.
The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs provides a definition of PTSD that occurs “when a person experience a traumatic event such as combat, assault or disaster which most people have some stress reactions after trauma that lingers for some time” (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015). There are several types of trauma that includes war, terrorism,violence and abuse and disasters.
Effects of PTSD and the Family
It can be very difficult to live with someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD and often your daily life is disrupted by nightmares, avoiding crowds, and difficulty driving. The children at times have a lot of trouble in schools and PTSD affects the relationship with their spouse, family members and friends. There is also a list of common reactions of family members of a person with PTSD that includes sympathy, negative feelings, avoidance, depression, anger and guilt, variety of health problems.
At times family members neglect themselves and spend a lot of time taking care of their loved ones with PTSD which is a set up for failure. It is important to seek help and surround yourself with others who understand what you are going through.
What can providers do to support family members?
Family members often neglect themselves and are confused about what to do when they find out that their loved one has PTSD. As a clinician, we must educate the family members and let them learn more about trauma and its effects. It will take some time to learn about PTSD which can be overwhelming, but if you are not aware of what PTSD is and its effects then you will be lost. It also takes a lot of patience to help someone who is affected by PTSD and in time they will heal. There also various classes that are offered to help the family which includes stress and anger management, addiction, couples communication or parenting (Carlson,E & Ruzek, J,2014).
Help to spread the awareness of PTSD by printing this PDF flyer: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/RaisePTSD_Awareness.pdf
Follow this link for a About Face PTSD videos on Youtube:
Follow this link provided by the Defense Centers for Excellence – PTSD Fact Sheet.
Carlson,E.B (PhD), & Ruzek, J.(PhD). (2014) PTSD and The Family. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treatment/family/ptsd-and-the-family.asp
Defense Centers of Excellence. (2015) PTSD Treatment Options. Retrieved from http://www.dcoe.mil/PsychologicalHealth/PTSD_Treatment_Options.aspx
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.(2015). Promotional Materials and Tips to Raise Awareness. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/promo_materials_awareness.asp