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Helping a Veteran Who Has PTSD

Friends and loved ones have an important part in easing a veteran back to normal day-to-day life. Usually, people who are close to the veteran will be the first to notice if there are any problems.

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.

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

1. Be ready to help your loved one.

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 have to do more of the household tasks, let it be. It’s impossible to help an individual with PTSD until you yourself are prepared for it.

2. Know the treatment options.

The top two proven methods of treating PTSD are counseling and medication. In recent years, researchers have brought forth new knowledge in the disorder’s causes and potential treatment. If you have more knowledge on the subject, your ability to help your loved one improves.

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 someone with a mental health condition who has received training and certification that enables them to help others dealing with their own mental issues. All you have to do is get in touch with your local VA and you will be provided options that you can consider.

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. 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 your loved one to help themselves.

Finally, try to encourage your loved one to maintain a few general self-care practices in their day-to-day routine. For instance, you can acquaint them with PTSD self-help tools, like mobile apps that teach how to handle symptoms. Self-care allows people to feel in control of themselves, which is something veterans with PTSD need en route to recovery.

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