Impact of PTSD on Veterans and Military Families: 3 Steps to Healing


We’re In This Together

Combat PTSD can cause the person with PTSD to become distant, pull away from family, and experience irritability and anxiety. However, studies show that both veterans and military families want family involvement to be prominent in mental health treatment.

Supporting loved ones is important to all parties, so we’re going to discuss compassionate solutions and how to navigate the initial steps toward healing. Read on to discover actionable strategies for veterans and their families navigating the challenges of PTSD.

1. Foster Understanding

Combat veterans often feel detached and isolated from loved ones, even those who are physically present. They may pull away, become irritable, or experience depression. The military family needs to remember that this is not their fault – it’s a product of the anxiety and pain that the veteran is experiencing.

Families can do online research and read PTSD-related books to better understand symptoms. They can encourage the survivor to open up safely about the things that happened to them.

This creates closeness and feelings of safety. This emotional proximity is critical for healing and regaining emotional intimacy.

2. Encourage Coping Strategies

Because of misunderstood symptoms, military families often do not understand PTSD coping strategies. However, it’s important for families to support those who are trying to minimize the impact of trauma triggers without frustration. Getting irritated at someone who’s triggered in a public place is natural when they’re behaving oddly, but it’s ineffective and causes more suffering to the triggered individual.

Families should encourage loved ones to wear earplugs and practice deep breathing when triggered by loud noises and sudden movements. They should try to understand why a veteran may need someone to go to crowded places with them or accommodate a need to go on errands during off-peak hours.

Regardless of how odd the family thinks these changes are, it’s likely that the veteran likes them even less. They may feel confused, embarrassed, and cast out. It’s critical that families inform survivors that these symptoms do not make them weak, but human.

3. Create Support Networks

No family stands on its own, and support is critical for those struggling with military PTSD. Encourage the survivor to seek help from other friends and loved ones. Let them know that many people are there to talk with them if they need support.

Professional treatment is also a critical facet of any support network. Experts with experience in PTSD coping strategies have broad toolkits for helping both survivors and families navigate changes. They will also foster effective communication between family members during group sessions so that you can be a more supportive unit.

Remember that the family unit is the primary support system in the end. They likely are the people that the survivor speaks with most frequently and will confide in.

Support for Military Families

Now that you know how military families can strengthen their bond after someone sustains combat PTSD, it’s time to begin the process of finding treatment. The Cpl. Chad Eric Oligschlaeger Foundation for PTSD is committed to helping all parties find compassionate solutions to foster long-term intimacy.

Contact us to learn more about treatment and support for veterans.

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