PTSD affects the entire family.
Last week I ran this post, “PTSD Awareness Month – June 2012,” in which I shared HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ press release quote, announcing PTSD Awareness Month, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters.” I also shared the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center’s fact sheet on PTSD, and here’s an additional link to their overview.
Today’s post is to share the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD’s resource, “Effects of PTSD on Family.” It is so important we understand these effects because they are equally harmful to a family member’s (or friend’s) health and enjoyment of life. Additionally, if family members and friends understand that it’s OK to have negative feelings about the situation — that they don’t have to forgo their own needs to help the one suffering — they can get their own help, which ultimately helps all concerned. Please read the following quotes from this resource:
“PTSD can make somebody hard to be with. Living with someone who is easily startled, has nightmares, and often avoids social situations can take a toll on the most caring family. Early research on PTSD has shown the harmful impact of PTSD on families. This research showed that Vietnam Veterans have more marital problems and family violence. Their partners have more distress. Their children have more behavior problems than do those of Veterans without PTSD. Veterans with the most severe symptoms had families with the worst functioning.
How does PTSD have such a negative effect? It may be because those suffering with PTSD have a hard time feeling emotions. They may feel detached from others. This can cause problems in personal relationships, and may even lead to behavior problems in their children. The numbing and avoidance that occurs with PTSD is linked with lower satisfaction in parenting.”
To find help for family and friends, please click here. For as the National Center for PTSD explains:
“When someone you care about has PTSD, it affects you too. You are problaby spending time and energy to help your loved one cope. Even if your partner, family member, or friend with PTSD is getting treament and getting better, you may still feel drained, worried, or even frustrated. You need support at the same time you are giving support.
Learning about PTSD helps you to understand what your loved one is experiencing. But, you need to take care of yourself too. Your own support network – family, friends, and health providers – is a good place to start, but don’t be afraid to reach out beyond that close circle. Here are some resources that can help.” click here