Organizations Helping Ptsd Veterans
Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur when an individual experiences a traumatic event like combat, military sexual trauma, violence, and terrorism. It is normal for most people to have a stress reaction after a traumatic experience. But, if the reaction doesnt dissipate or begins to disrupt daily life, then you may have PTSD. According to the National Center for PTSD, eight out of every 100 veterans have PTSD.
If you or a fellow comrade is struggling with PTSD, here are nine organizations that can help in no particular order:
Support Groups For People With Ptsd And Other Types Of Trauma
Support groups can help people with PTSD and their families feel less isolated. Theyre often run by a facilitator who has also experienced PTSD or by a mental health professional. Some PTSD support groups are specifically for veterans and service members while others are for anyone who has faced a traumatic event.
Anxiety & Depression Association of America : ADAA lists a wide range of support groups for trauma survivors and anyone dealing with depression or anxiety. Use the location tool to find a support group in your area.
S To Show Your Support To Someone With Ptsd
If you have a loved one with PTSD, know that many others are in the same situation youre facing today. Many veterans out there have overcome their problems because of family and friends who stood by them through every ordeal they endured. You can also provide vital support to a PTSD sufferer. To help you do this, we at Veteran Car Donations have come up with these 3 practical steps on how to support a veteran with PTSD.
Understand that there are two types of treatment that can effectively address PTSD. These are counseling and medication. Learn all you can with whats available so that you can discuss the treatment options for the afflicted veteran in your life.
You can find Peer Specialists near you who can facilitate counseling for family members or therapy sessions in groups. In case youre not aware, a Peer Specialist is someone who also has a mental health condition but has received training and certification to help other veterans overcome their mental health issues.
As soon as your loved one feels that theyre ready for the next step, look for a trained professional who can give them the much-needed treatment as soon as possible.
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Educate Others And Raise Awareness About Ptsd
A major roadblock to the treatment and rehabilitation of veterans with PTSD is a lack of understanding regarding the disorder itself. Families and friends of veterans can help their loved ones by educating them, clarifying what PTSD is and what the possible symptoms are.
PTSD does not only afflict veterans who have faced combat or military action during their time in service. It can be the result of any trauma experienced by the veteran, regardless of whether it had a violent component or not. Veterans may struggle with trauma incurred during their time in the military for several months or even years after theyve completed their service.
In some cases, people experience chronic trauma that continues or repeats for months or years at a time. The current PTSD diagnosis often does not fully capture the severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged, repeated trauma, according to an article from the VAs National Center for PTSD. People who experience chronic trauma often report additional symptoms alongside formal PTSD symptoms, such as changes in their self-concept and the way they adapt to stressful events.
Alterations In Arousal And Reactivity
In individuals with PTSD, the brain and body experience a continued sense of danger long after the actual threat has passed. In particular, the amygdala, the region of the brain that processes fear and emotion, remains unusually active as if life-threatening danger remained present.
Accordingly, veterans with PTSD may experience an ongoing sense of being on guard, which mental health experts term hypervigilance. This heightened awareness and reactivity to ones surroundings can translate to the following difficulties, either while on active duty or post-deployment:
- Irritability or a propensity to angry outbursts
- Reckless, dangerous, or self-destructive behavior
- Being easily startled
- Excessive wariness regarding ones environment
- Problems with attention or concentration
- Difficulty sleeping
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Talking To Your Loved One About Ptsd Triggers
Ask your loved one about things theyve done in the past to respond to a trigger that seemed to help . Then come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future.
Decide with your loved one how you should respond when they have a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. Youll also be in a much better position to help your loved one calm down.
How to help someone having a flashback or panic attack
During a flashback, people often feel a sense of disassociation, as if theyre detached from their own body. Anything you can do to ground them will help.
- Tell your loved one theyre having a flashback and that even though it feels real, the event is not actually happening again.
- Help remind them of their surroundings .
- Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths .
- Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them.
- Ask before you touch them. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make them feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence.
Prevention Efforts In The Army
U.S. Army activities to prevent or mitigate mental health symptoms after exposure to combat and deployment stress have included the use of Army CSC teams . The mission of the teams is to provide prevention and treatment as close to a soldiers unit as possible to keep the soldier with his or her unit in the theater of war. Guidelines for treating COSRs focus on proximity, immediacy, expectancy, and simplicity. Proximity is based on the premises that soldiers will seek refuge from stress but want to remain loyal to their unit and that if they are removed from their unit they will have more incentive not to return, which may increase the potential for long-term psychiatric issues. A CSC team consists of a psychologist or psychiatrist, a social worker, and two mental health specialists. Prevention consists of presentations at command meetings or informally on how to recognize initial signs of COSRs and assess unit climate surveys. Teams also work directly with soldiers via briefings on suicide, stress and anger management, home-front issues, and reintegration tips for returning home. Walkouts to talk informally with soldiers are conducted to mitigate soldiers fear of stigmatization. CSC members can also provide crisis de-briefings after a traumatic event to help normalize feelings and challenge distressing beliefs in a safe environment.
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Recovering From Survivors Guilt
Healing doesnt mean that youll forget what happened or those who died. And it doesnt mean youll have no regrets. What it does mean is that youll view your role more realistically.
- Is the amount of responsibility youre assuming reasonable?
- Could you really have prevented or stopped what happened?
- Are you judging your decisions based on complete information about the event, or just your emotions?
- Did you do your best at the time, under challenging circumstances?
- Do you truly believe that if you had died, someone else would have survived?
Honestly assessing your responsibility and role can free you to move on and grieve your losses. Even if you continue to feel some guilt, instead of punishing yourself, you can redirect your energy into honoring those you lost and finding ways to keep their memory alive. For example, you could volunteer for a cause thats connected in some way to one of the friends you lost. The goal is to put your guilt to positive use and thus transform a tragedy, even in a small way, into something worthwhile.
Seek Help And Treatment From The Va And Other Military Resources
While friends and family can be helpful to veterans with PTSD, there are more advanced services and treatment options offered by the VA and other military organizations to help former service members facing this condition.
The VA offers extensive inpatient and outpatient treatment services across the U.S. These services can range from initial evaluations of potential PTSD and suggested treatment options to specialized health services, including substance abuse treatment, anger management treatment and programs for female veterans. The VA also offers various forms of therapy to veterans, including family therapy, in which friends and loved ones can participate. On the organizations website, the VA offers both a directory and a map that shows where PTSD resources are available by state.
There are additional resources like Outward Bound, an organization that provides wilderness courses and programs to build leadership and confidence among participants, which offers a specialized program for veterans. The Mission Continues is another organization that provides veterans leadership and advocacy opportunities in their local communities, helping give former service members a sense of purpose and aiding them in the transition to civilian life.
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Prevalence Of Ptsd In Veterans
Estimates of PTSD prevalence rates among returning service members vary widely across wars and eras. In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5% of deployed and nondeployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20% to 30%., As many as 500,000 U.S. troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.
It is not clear if PTSD is more common in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than in those of previous conflicts, but the current wars present a unique set of circumstances that contribute heavily to mental health problems. According to Paula P. Schnurr, PhD, Executive Director of the VA National Center for PTSD, the urban-style warfare tactics in Afghanistan and Iraq, marked by guerrilla attacks, roadside improvised explosive devices, and the uncertain distinction between safe zones and battle zones, may trigger more post-traumatic stress in surviving military members than conventional fighting.
In addition, Dr. Schnurr notes, improvements in protective gear and battlefield medicine have greatly increased survivabilitybut at a high price. Between the way were protecting the troops and responding to injuries on the ground, a lot of soldiers are surviving with very significant injuries who would not necessarily have survived before, she says. And theyre returning stateside with both the physical and psychological trauma.
Tip : Take Care Of Yourself
Letting your family members PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout and may even lead to secondary traumatization. You can develop your own trauma symptoms from listening to trauma stories or being exposed to disturbing symptoms like flashbacks. The more depleted and overwhelmed you feel, the greater the risk is that youll become traumatized.
In order to have the strength to be there for your loved one over the long haul and lower your risk for secondary traumatization, you have to nurture and care for yourself.
Take care of your physical needs: get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat properly, and look after any medical issues.
Cultivate your own support system. Lean on other family members, trusted friends, your own therapist or support group, or your faith community. Talking about your feelings and what youre going through can be very cathartic.
Make time for your own life. Dont give up friends, hobbies, or activities that make you happy. Its important to have things in your life that you look forward to.
Spread the responsibility. Ask other family members and friends for assistance so you can take a break. You may also want to seek out respite services in your community.
Set boundaries. Be realistic about what youre capable of giving. Know your limits, communicate them to your family member and others involved, and stick to them.
Support for people taking care of veterans
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Problems Related To Ptsd
Some other problems are more common for people with PTSD. These include:
- alcohol and substance use problems
- problems in relationships, work, school, or other important activities
- physical symptoms
- increased risk of medical problems
Did you know?
- More than half of men with PTSD have alcohol problems.
- Nearly half of women with PTSD also suffer from depression.
What Services Does Va Provide For Ptsd
We have almost 200 PTSD treatment programs across the country that offer:
- 1-to-1 mental health assessment and testing to figure out if you have PTSD
- Medicine proven to work for treating PTSD
- 1-to-1 psychotherapy . This includes proven methods like Cognitive Processing Therapy .
- 1-to-1 family therapy
- Group therapy for special needs, like anger or stress management, or combat support
- Group therapy for Veterans who served in certain combat zones or whove been through similar traumas
We also offer other forms of treatment and support:
- PTSD specialists provide regular outpatient care to Veterans with PTSD in each VA medical center across the U.S.
- Special residential or inpatient care programsfound in each region of the U.S.help Veterans with severe PTSD symptoms who have trouble doing normal daily activities .
- Providers offer added PTSD care in some of our large community-based outpatient clinics.
Please note: If you dont live near a VA medical center or clinic, our mental health providers can counsel you over the phone . Or, we can refer you to a Vet Center or health care provider near you.
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I Have More Questions Where Can I Go For Help
VA knows that being a Caregiver can be both rewarding and hard. You can always find more information at www.caregiver.va.gov, including contact information for the VA Caregiver Support Coordinator nearest you.
You can also call VAs Caregiver Support Line toll-free at 1-855-260-3274.
The Caregiver Support Line is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am 11:00 pm ET, and Saturday, 10:30 am 6:00 pm ET.
- Tell you about the assistance available from VA.
- Help you access services and benefits.
- Connect you with your local Caregiver Support Coordinator at a VA Medical Center near you.
- Just listen, if thats what you need right now.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.
Sherman, M.D. . SAFE Program: Mental Health Facts for Families. Oklahoma City, Veterans Affairs Medical Center).
Key Messages To Share With Children And Youth:
- It is not your fault,
- It is not your problem to fix,
- Your job is to be a child or youth,
- You are loved,
- We are doing our best to address problems.
If possible, explain some of the symptoms of PTSD. Use examples that they may have already observed: Because of Moms injury, she is very uncomfortable in crowded places, and she may seem impatient and in a hurry.
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I Have Ptsd How Can The Ptsd Coach Canada Application Helpme
If youve been diagnosed with PTSD, the tools in the PTSD Coach Canada Application mayhelp you manage your symptoms. However, it is not meant to be a replacement for professional care. If youare currently in treatment for PTSD, you should talk with your provider about using PTSD Coach Canada as part of yourwork together.
Remember: effective treatment for PTSD is available! You dont have to live with your symptoms forever.
New Bc Veterans Centre Using Music To Help With Ptsd: In The News For Nov 10
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 10 …
What we are watching in Canada …
The project lead for a new non-profit centre for veterans in B.C. says a former Canadian soldier who survived being struck in the head with an axe during a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan in 2006, inspired the $312-million complex, which was conceptualized in 2015 and broke ground in 2019.
The Legion Veterans Village Centre for Excellence in Surrey, B.C. is set to open next winter, and will host clinical research studies into rehabilitation and brain health, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other neurological conditions that impact veterans, police officers, paramedics and firefighters.
Led by the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Whalley Legion Branch 229 and Lark Group, it will also provide affordable housing, market housing and legion facilities.
Rowena Rizzotti, project lead of the Legion Veterans Village, says its goal is to address challenges first responders and veterans face and provide all necessary health care in one location.
“PTSD is exhausting physically, psychologically and mentally,” he says. “I’m giving the benefit of my experience and my perspective.”
Also this …
An Afghanistan war veteran says it took being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to appreciate the healing qualities of music.
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Find Healthy Ways To Socialize And Collaborate With Veterans
There are many ways that friends and family can help veterans suffering from PTSD heal by socializing and collaborating with them.
When moving to a new base or post, the military helps military personnel and families adjust. This structure is often not automatically in place when someone separates from the military. The veteran and their family may have to find new ways to join or create a social community, according to a help sheet from the VAs Mental Health Services department.
As veterans adjust to civilian life, friends and family can help by finding and participating in activities with their loved one. This can include helping veterans in their pursuit of a new hobby or activity or introducing veterans to new social or peer groups.
PTSD is a challenging disorder that can impair the quality of life for many veterans. But with these tools and resources, both veterans and their loved ones can find ways to address PTSD and help former service members live healthy and fulfilling lives.