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How to Help a Veteran Dealing with PTSD

The role of a veteran’s family and friends is crucial, especially during difficult moments. 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 off, be aware that whatever your loved one is dealing with because of PTSD is out of their control. So if you feel like they’re being so touchy or volatile, just understand where they’re coming from and don’t make it worse. 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. 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.

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. Just connect with your local VA and they will help you explore options and resources.

4. Get 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. 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.

Lastly, encourage the veteran to continue to practice self-care on an everyday basis. For example, you can introduce them to self-help tools for PTSD management, like mobile apps that provide treatment options. Self-care reinforces feelings of being in control, which is very important for any veteran on the road to full healing.

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