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. In many cases, this has been achieved with the help of the veterans’ spouses, partners, friends and family members.
The following are five ways to improve the life of a veteran going through PTSD:
1. Be ready to help your loved one.
First and foremost, make sure you know that no matter how hard the situation may seem, your loved one has no choice. So if they seem detached or less affectionate, just understand them. If you must do most of the chores at home, do so. You can never help someone with PTSD unless you are ready.
2. Educate yourself about treatment options.
The top two proven methods of treating PTSD are counseling and medication. In recent years, researchers have deepened their understanding of why PTSD occurs and what can be done to treat it. If you have more knowledge on the subject, your ability to help your loved one improves.
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 a person with a mental health condition and has been trained and certified to help other mentally challenged individuals. Just connect with your local VA and they will help you explore options and resources.
4. Get 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 not easy to have a family member with the disorder talk about his thoughts and feelings, but this is something an expert will know exactly how to do. Such coaches are knowledgeable, trained and experienced, so they can usually elicit positive responses from veterans with the disorder.
5. Create an environment conducive for 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 allows people to feel in control of themselves, which is something veterans with PTSD need en route to recovery.