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Helping a Veteran Who Has PTSD

Family members and friends have a big role to play in helping a veteran get back to normal life. Usually, people who are close to the veteran will be the first to notice if there are any problems.

If a person you love is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), know that it can be cured, and, with your help, they can reclaim their old life. 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.

The following are five ways to improve the life of a veteran going through PTSD:

1. Be ready to help your loved one.

First off, be aware that whatever your loved one is dealing with because of PTSD is out of their control. If they’re being difficult, understand them with all your heart and mind. If you have to do more things around the house, just do them anyway. Unless you can rise above the situation, you can never help a person with PTSD.

2. Educate yourself about treatment options.

Counseling and medication are two established approaches for treating PTSD. In recent years, researchers have brought forth new knowledge in the disorder’s causes and potential treatment. The more you know about the subject, the more you can help your loved one.

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 professional 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. 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. Such coaches are knowledgeable, trained and experienced, so they can usually elicit positive responses from veterans with the disorder.

5. Encourage your loved one to help themselves.

Finally, encourage your loved one with PTSD to try to maintain a level of self-care with their daily life. 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 allows people to feel in control of themselves, which is something veterans with PTSD need en route to recovery.

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