Recognizing Symptoms of PTSD and How to Support Your Loved One
Veterans who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may not immediately notice that they have symptoms of PTSD. Most of the time, a veteran is not aware of their condition until loved ones or other people in their lives notice the changes in their mood and behavior.
What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witness a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault. PTSD can occur in all people of any age. Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include the following:
- Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
- Nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks
- Feeling emotionally cut off from others
- Lost of interest in things once cared about
- Hypervigilance or feeling constantly on guard
- Easily irritated
- Difficulty sleeping
- Issues with concentration
- Suicidal ideation
While this is not a complete list of all symptoms of PTSD, these are just a few examples of some symptoms of what a veteran who is suffering from PTSD may be experiencing.
There are physical and mental changes that you can expect to see your loved one go through and the severity of these symptoms will vary for everyone. Some physical changes may include irritability or anger outbursts, or panic attacks. Some mental changes can include negative changes in thinking and mood. Continuing to support your loved one with PTSD is important.
You may notice that there is a difference in your social life with the veteran. The veteran may become uncomfortable in large crowds or social settings and unfamiliar places. You may also notice changes in your personal relationship with the veteran.
How to Support Your Loved One with PTSD
Here are some steps to take to learn about PTSD support for veterans:
- Learn as much as you can about PTSD. You can do this by reading about it, going to lectures, talking to others in similar situations.
- Encourage the veteran to seek mental health treatment. There are a number of options when it comes to treatment for PTSD. The VA offers treatment programs to veterans who are eligible. For more information on the types of treatment that the VA offers, please click here.
- Encourage the veteran to speak to other veterans who are going through the same mental health challenges
- If the veteran talks about suicide, you should always that it seriously and seek help immediately. The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255.
It may not be easy, but trying to understand PTSD and how it affects your loved one, can make a huge difference in supporting them.