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 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.
Here are five ways you can make life better for a veteran with PTSD:
1. Be prepared to help.
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. It’s impossible to help an individual with PTSD until you yourself are prepared for it.
2. Know what treatment options are available.
Counseling and medication are two established approaches for treating PTSD. In recent years, researchers have deepened their understanding of why PTSD occurs and what can be done to treat it. The more familiar you are about the subject, the more you can help your loved one’s situation.
3. Encourage your loved one to open up to other veterans with PTSD.
Your local VA can assign a Peer Specialist to counsel your loved one individually, with the family, or in a group therapy with other veterans who also have PTSD. A Peer Specialist is a person with a mental health condition and has been trained and certified to help other mentally challenged individuals. All you need to do is contact your local VA, and they will offer you options for your consideration.
4. Hire a coach.
Yes, you can bring in a professional coach who can help your loved one through the entire ordeal, and in some cases, this can even be offered 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 self-help.
Lastly, encourage the veteran to continue to practice self-care on an everyday basis. 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 gives people a feeling of being in control, and that is something these veterans need to re-learn slowly but surely.