Living With Someone Who Has Ptsd
When a partner, friend, or family member has post-traumatic stress disorder it affects you, too. PTSD isnt easy to live with and it can take a heavy toll on relationships and family life. You may be hurt by your loved ones distance and moodiness or struggling to understand their behaviorwhy they are less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel like youre walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. You may also have to take on a bigger share of household tasks and deal with the frustration of a loved one who wont open up. The symptoms of PTSD can even lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.
Its hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but its important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over their behavior. Your loved ones nervous system is stuck in a state of constant alert, making them continually feel vulnerable and unsafe, or having to relive the traumatic experience over and over. This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one cant simply choose to turn off.
With the right support from you and other family and friends, though, your loved ones nervous system can become unstuck. With these tips, you can help them to finally move on from the traumatic event and enable your life together to return to normal.
Ptsd Risk Factors For Veterans
Which factors increase a veterans risk of developing PTSD? Despite the significant advances in modern psychiatry, research into this question is ongoing. Much remains to be discovered about the biological and psychological determinants of PTSD in active-duty and former military personnel. Additionally, little is known about relative risks for various branches of the military, such as the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corp.
However, a comprehensive meta analysis published in 2015 suggests that certain variables may influence a veterans likelihood of developing PTSD. These include the following:
- Degree of exposure to combat
- Discharging a weapon during combat
- Witnessing life-threatening injuries or death while deployed
- Levels of social support following traumatic exposure .
Importantly, factors contributing to the onset of PTSD are highly ambiguous and individualized. There is no single definite way to determine the causes of this disorder in each case.
What Ptsd Treatment Can Do
Generally, the PTSD treatment will reduce the symptoms that plague someone with the disorder. This allows the person to function more optimally. There is short term psychotherapy and medications that have been proven to help. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found to be very effective when geared towards physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological trauma.
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Impact Of Ptsd On Relationships And Day
PTSD can affect a persons ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends. A person with PTSD can often seem disinterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories. They may stop them from participating in family life or ignore offers of help. This can lead to loved ones feeling shut out.
It is important to remember that these behaviours are part of the problem. People with PTSD need the support of family and friends, but may not think that they need help.
It is not unusual for people with PTSD to experience other mental health problems at the same time. In fact, up to 80 per cent of people who have long-standing PTSD develop additional problems – most commonly depression, anxiety, and alcohol or othersubstance misuse. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or have developed sometime after the onset of PTSD.
Ptsd Treatment For Veterans: Whats Working Whats New And Whats Next
More than a decade of war in the Middle East has pushed post-traumatic stress disorder to the forefront of public health concerns. The last several years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking help for PTSD, shining a spotlight on this debilitating condition and raising critical questions about appropriate treatment options and barriers to care.
While PTSD extends far beyond the militaryaffecting about eight million American adults in a given yearthe problem is especially acute among war veterans. Not only are recent veterans at higher risk of suffering from PTSD than those in the general population, they also face unique barriers to accessing adequate treatment. These include the requirement that they have either an honorable or general discharge to access Department of Veterans Affairs medical benefits, long waiting lists at VA medical centers, and the social stigma associated with mental illness within military communities., According to a study conducted by the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, less than half of returning veterans needing mental health services receive any treatment at all, and of those receiving treatment for PTSD and major depression, less than one-third are receiving evidence-based care.
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% Of The Gulf War Veterans Have Ptsd
The nature of combat has changed greatly since WWI and WWII, so the statistics on post-traumatic stress disorder increased in the meantime. One of the reasons for bigger rates could be the fact that soldiers are returning home faster than before. The longer trip home allowed for sharing experiences with fellow soldiers and longer processing and healing time.
What Are The Symptoms Of Post
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a survivor needs to have the following symptoms present for at least one month and severe enough to interfere with day to day functioning:
Re-experiencing symptoms. These involve reacting as if the trauma is still present, including having nightmares, flashbacks, or frightening thoughts
Avoidance symptoms. These are attempts to avoid being reminded of the trauma, such as staying away from people, places, or things that are similar to aspects of the trauma, or avoiding and shutting out thoughts and feelings related to the trauma
Arousal and reactivity symptoms. These are signs of excess anxiety or anger and physiological arousal, including having angry outbursts, feeling on edge, being hyper-vigilant for threat, or having difficulty sleeping
Cognition and mood symptoms. These are memory impairments or negative thoughts, feelings, or judgments relating to the event these include feeling excessive guilt, blaming yourself unreasonably, having difficulty remembering aspects of the event, seeing yourself or the world negatively, or not finding interest or pleasure in regular activities .
It is normal to experience some of these symptoms right after an event like a rape or a serious car accidentbut if symptoms last for more than a month, then you may have PTSD and should seek mental health evaluation and treatment. Sometimes, PTSD symptoms can be triggered months or years after the actual event.
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Veterans Need Ptsd Treatment
For American military veterans, social support and expert care are necessary to manage life-threatening PTSD symptoms. These veteran PTSD statistics show that millions of veterans need rehabilitative care, and the staff at Heroes Mile is ready to provide that care.
Our treatment center in DeLand, Florida provides care to address addiction, PTSD, and MST for veterans who need help. If you would like to learn more about our treatment options for veterans, you can fill out a digital contact form or call our admissions specialists at 1-888-VET-NOW2. With our veteran staff members, weve got your six!
for Veterans by Veterans
Ptsd In Vietnam Veterans
In 1983, a mandate set forth by Congress required the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study to better understand the psychological effects of being in combat in the Vietnam War. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study found that approximately 15% of the 2.7 million Americans who served in the Vietnam war had PTSD.
The incidence over a lifetime following involvement in the Vietnam war, however, is much greater. Approximately 30% of men and 27% of women developed some form of partial PTSD at some point in their life following Vietnam.
Today, some 40 years later, new findings reported by the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study indicate that approximately 271,000 Vietnam veterans still suffer from PTSD and other major depressive disorders, indicating an ongoing need for mental health services for veterans after returning home from combat. Another congressional mandate, the NVVLS surveyed many of the Vietnam veterans who were previously assessed by the NVVRS, since a significant number of those participants had since passed away.
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How Is Ptsd Treated
A doctor, nurse, or mental health professional who has experience in treating people with PTSD can help you. Treatment may include therapy or counseling, medicine, or both.
- Cognitive processing therapy is a type of talk therapy that was developed specifically to treat PTSD. CPT helps you pay attention to and change your upsetting thoughts.
- Prolongedexposure therapy is another type of talk therapy. A therapist will help you talk about and slowly remember the traumatic event repeatedly over time. Over time, the therapist will guide you through the difficult feelings and memories. By confronting the trauma, you may become less sensitive to the memories and related situations.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is another type of therapy used to treat PTSD. During EMDR, you will be asked to remember and talk about the trauma while also focusing on a specific visual item, like the therapistâs hand, or listening to a specific sound, like beeps.
- Medicines to treat PTSD symptoms may include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicine.
Treatments can last weeks, months, or longer. Treatment is not the same for everyone. What works for you might not work for someone else with PTSD. Drinking alcohol or using other drugs will not help PTSD go away and may even make it worse.
Who Can Experience Ptsd Anyone
PTSD is a condition that affects people of all ages. No one is immune to trauma or how it affects the human brain. Depending on the person, PTSD may mean something different but be equally as impactful.
The experience of post-traumatic stress can vary depending on the trauma that the individual went througheven symptoms can vary between two people. In some cases, symptoms can appear nearly instantaneously. For others, it can take decades for symptoms to surface and be recognized. For many, theres a delayed onset of symptoms, when the brain is no longer as preoccupied or the person has the opportunity to absorb what has happened.
There is no definitive answer to why some people who experience trauma develop PTSD and others do not. A combination of elements may cause the disorder or make individuals more susceptible to post-traumatic stress, such as:
- Exposure to trauma, including factors like the number of traumas experienced and the severity of those traumas
- Familial histories of anxiety and depression
- Emotional response
- How your brain regulates the hormones and chemicals your body releases in response to traumatic events and stress
- Occupations like soldiers, nurses, doctors, EMTs, law enforcement, and firefighters expose some people to more trauma than other in jobs
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Tip : Anticipate And Manage Triggers
A trigger is anythinga person, place, thing, or situationthat reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers dont have to be external. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.
What Does A Person With Ptsd Act Like
People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares they may feel sadness, fear or anger and they may feel detached or estranged from other people.
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Tip : Rebuild Trust And Safety
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages peoples ability to trust others and themselves. If theres any way you can rebuild your loved ones sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery.
Express your commitment to the relationship. Let your loved one know that youre here for the long haul so they feel loved and supported.
Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Creating routines could involve getting your loved one to help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply being there for the person.
Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.
Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.
Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by showing that youre trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on what you say youre going to do.
Emphasize your loved ones strengths. Tell your loved one you believe theyre capable of recovery and point out all of their positive qualities and successes.
Safety And Emotional Health
In the best of circumstances, you both are emotionally mature, you realize that one person is sick, but getting better, you’re not in physical danger from the PTSD sufferer and you both are committed to getting through a long and difficult time and getting out the other side with professional help.
In most circumstances, however, both of you are in different emotional places on a long process of healing — and hurt — and with very different issues that you have to deal with. Depending on your situation and the symptoms of the PTSD sufferer, you have to protect yourself, first, on two levels: Physical and Emotional.
I can say that one of my own symptoms is irrational anger and even rage. That said, I’ve never struck or threatened to strike my loved one even in the worse cases of flooding or irrational anger. I have, however, been startled awake by an ignorant homeless shelter staff member that shook people awake every morning, even those of us in ‘clinic beds.’ She ignored protocol and I had her on the ground in a wrestling lock with my hand around her throat before I was even awake. It was only the intervention of another staff member that kept me from being kicked out of the shelter and/or arrested.
If you think you’re safe because you’re a big guy and the PTSD sufferer is a woman, think again.
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Challenges And Opportunities Ahead
While many important advancements have been made over the past few decades in understanding and treating symptoms of PTSD, the rising number of American veterans who suffer from the disorder continues to be a serious national public health problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely accepted method of treatment for PTSD, but there is clearly an urgent need to identify more effective pharmacological approaches for the management of symptoms, as not all patients will respond adequately to psychotherapy or evidence-based/first-line pharmacotherapy. Further understanding of the underlying physiological and neurological processes will be helpful in developing new and effective therapies to treat PTSD.
Research also suggests further opportunities for the VA and other health care systems to develop new and innovative ways to overcome barriers to treating veterans with PTSD. With veterans and their families increasingly seeking care outside of the VA system, community providers play a key role in helping to address these challenges. It is critical they receive the education, training, and tools to improve their understanding of and skills for addressing the needs of this unique population.
Ptsd In Veterans Statistics
- An estimated 354 million adult war survivors globally have PTSD and/or major depression.
- In one study of 1,938 veterans, a PTSD prevalence of about 14% was present in veterans who served in Iraq.
- In reports, a 10% prevalence of PTSD has been extrapolated for all Gulf War veterans.
- About 30% of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
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Avoidance And Emotional Numbing
Avoidance and emotional numbing The person with PTSD may try to avoid reminders of the event. They may avoid people or places that remind them of what happened. They will have a hard time talking about their experience and try to push the memories out of their mind. This is why many people with PTSD will have co-occurring disorders where they become addicted to substances. Someone with PTSD may emotionally numb themselves by working on not feeling anything.
Time Commitment And Patience: Know And Agree To Your Limits
If you think that getting through this is going to take a day, a week, a month, a single year… you’re fooling yourself. The question — this is deadly serious — is how much time and commitment and patience you’re willing to devote to this person and the fact that they are always going to have PTSD. They will some day be able to manage their symptoms if they work hard and YOU work hard at it and on yourself.
If you tell the PTSD sufferer that you’ll always be there with them, no matter what, and then leave a couple years down the road because it just becomes too hard and you believe life for yourself would be better without their problems, you seriously hurt two people. It’s unrealistic to promise that you’ll be there, no matter what.
If the person with PTSD refuses to get help, continues to self-medicate, drives away all your friends and family, isolates you, keeps you from growing, makes you feel badly about yourself, etc. … you’re going to either hate them, or leave them, or both.
This isn’t a decision you can make in a day or a week and I highly recommend talking to your therapist about it. In the end, though, you need to one day sit down with the PTSD Sufferer and spell it out what you’re willing to do, for how long and what THEY need to do for themselves if they want you to stick around.
It’s dangerous for them. If you aren’t willing to commit, then be honest, swallow whatever guilt you feel, and do them the favor of not letting them depend on quicksand.
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