How Does PTSD Affect Veterans and Their Families

PTSD, officially known as post-traumatic stress disorder, is a complex and chronic mental health condition that anyone who has experienced trauma may be diagnosed with. While anyone who has experienced or witnessed traumatic events can potentially develop PTSD, it is one of the biggest concerns of veterans returning from combat or other traumatic operations they were a part of during their term of service. PTSD can have a profound and debilitating effect on veterans as well as their families, diminishing both their emotional and mental health over time and corroding their relationships.

How Does PTSD Affect Veterans and Their Families?

With the dramatic impact that PTSD can have on the mental and emotional health of those who have been traumatized, the resulting changes in behavior can sometimes be unpredictable. However, there are often some commonalities in how the disorder affects veterans and their families.

How Does PTSD Affect Veterans?

There are countless potential ways that PTSD can impact a veteran, but some of the most common or significant include:

  • Flashbacks: Veterans that have developed PTSD may find there are times when they experience the traumatic event as if it were happening all over again. These are called flashbacks, and they can be triggered by any reminder of the trauma.
  • Avoidance: Vets with PTSD are more likely to avoid places, events, or even specific people that may remind them of the traumatic event.
  • Hyperarousal: PTSD in veterans can cause a state of hyperarousal where they are constantly vigilant or on edge. 
  • Negative Moods: One of the biggest changes that can be seen in a vet with PTSD is their detachment from many types of joy they used to experience. They also frequently feel hopeless or lose interest in things they love.

How Does PTSD Affect Family Members?

PTSD also has a dramatic and often devastating impact on the families of the veterans that develop the disorder. Family members that watch a loved one struggle with PTSD can experience isolation or frustration in being unable to personally help their loved one. Other emotions commonly felt by family members of those with PTSD include fear, guilt, anxiety, and helplessness.

In addition to the emotional stress on the individual members of the family, a PTSD diagnosis can also cause significant changes in the family dynamic. There will often be an increasing difficulty in effective communication, increasing emotional distancing, or even physical violence in some extreme cases. Children of veterans diagnosed with PTSD can develop emotional or behavioral problems and may struggle with additional social or academic challenges. 

Effective Treatments for PTSD

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is one of the many types of talk therapy, and it is used to help individuals in treatment recognize and change patterns of negative thinking and the resulting behavior. One of the biggest benefits of CBT is that it helps build effective coping strategies to manage PTSD symptoms.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a type of therapy that is used to help people with PTSD to work through traumatic memories in a safe environment by using bilateral brain stimulation in the form of eye movements.

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of CBT that is more commonly used with children and adolescents, in combination with family therapy or play therapy, to help improve emotional regulation. It is also used with adults as an effective strategy to treat PTSD and other trauma related disorders.

Casa Recovery Provides Leading PTSD Treatment For Veterans & Their Families

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with PTSD and it is taking a toll on your family, it may be time to reach out for professional help. Contact Casa Recovery today to speak with a member of our expert therapy team about your treatment needs. 

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