Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is something that many veterans suffer from after their return from their service. In the United States alone, eight million people suffer from it. Since the Iraq and Afghanistan War, this number has jumped to 11 to 20 percent. The disorder has the ability to make veterans feel alone and have to suffer by themselves. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If there is a loved one in your life that is a veteran suffering from PTSD, there are many ways that you can help them. One of the best ways you can do this is by familiarizing yourself with treatment options for PTSD. The most prominent and successful treatment options have been counseling and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most successful counseling treatments.
Simply encourage the veteran in your life to talk with other veterans. Working with the local VA, a veteran can work with peer specialists and work in counseling through group therapy sessions. Having others available to speak with that are going through what your loved one may be going through is extremely helpful in treating PTSD.
Don’t pass their feelings off as “not that bad” or tell them that “other people have it worse.” Essentially, this is invalidating their feelings and what they’re going through. This could lead them to feel that they aren’t safe discussing what they’re going through and you could, unfortunately, add to their feelings of loneliness and alienation.
If you don’t understand what they’re going through, simply ask them. Keep an open mind and ask about what they’re going through and how they’re feeling. If they feel safe with discussing this with you, then you should be able to help them make progress in lessening the symptoms of PTSD.
A difficult thing to remember is that you can do everything within your ability to help your loved one and they can still continue to experience symptoms of PTSD. If you can remember that you can’t necessarily “fix” those suffering from PTSD, you can at least support them. Support is extremely vital to recovery for those suffering.