PTSD: The Effect on Family Members

PTSD doesn’t just affect you; it has an impact on all your family members too. They are the ones that watch and listen doing all they can to make sure you are calm and happy. After all, if you aren’t, they are the ones who must bear the brunt of your wrath. It’s sad when your spouse and children start thinking they are responsible for keeping you happy…and it never works. You are responsible for finding your own happiness. It may take a lot of hard work, and perhaps counseling and/or medication for you to find the joy in your life again.

Spouses of Veterans with PTSD often think they will be able to fix you if they can just keep one step ahead of your moods. When things keep getting worse and worse, they may wind up with secondary PTSD. It’s important they are able to get away and do things on their own without the stress you bring to the situation. They need your support to do this.

Children, whether their parent is affected by PTSD or not, usually believe they are responsible for the problems their parents face. It’s important to not add to their guilt for things that aren’t their fault. Spend some time with them doing activities where you aren’t judging them to strengthen your relationship.

While you may feel isolated by PTSD, you really aren’t in it alone.   Your spouse and family are fighting many of the same battles because of their nearness to you. Allow them to develop their own lives apart from you, and share what light you have in you with them. They really do deserve it…and so do you!

PTSD Treatment

PTSD can be successfully treated. In some instances, it can get rid of your symptoms entirely, or it may reduce the symptoms you are experiencing. Treatment allows you to fight back and manage your symptoms to they don’t take over your life.

There are many treatment options for PTSD, including therapy and medications. By getting treatment, you will have a higher quality of life than if you go without treating your PTSD. The first step is usually the hardest: admitting the problem won’t just disappear as you get older. If you don’t feel you’re ready for treatment, it may be one of the symptoms of PTSD – not wanting to think about it. But the sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can start to feel better.

Don’t put off treatment for your PTSD. It’s time to reclaim your life and start enjoying it again. Treatment for PTSD works!

Traumatic Brain Injury & PTSD

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not classified by the severity of the symptoms the victim experiences, but by the amount of injury that occurs to the brain: either mild, moderate or severe. The primary cause of TBI in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are blasts, blast plus motor vehicle accidents, motor vehicle accidents alone, and gunshot wounds. It is not unusual for veterans with TBI to also experience symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, insomnia, impaired memory, and lowered tolerance for noise and light. Mild TBI may result in an increased risk for psychiatric disorders including depression and PTSD. These symptoms are often time-limited though and, with appropriate treatment and healthy behaviors, are likely to improve.

Even veterans with moderate or severe brain injuries can make remarkable recoveries if they receive ongoing rehabilitation. Education for the veteran and family early in the course of recovery can improve outcomes and help prevent the development of other psychological problems. Many of the same treatments for PTSD can also work well for Veterans with mild TBI. Veterans with moderate or severe TBI may benefit from occupational rehabilitation and case management. Coordination of care between providers is a critical element of successful treatment.

Controlling Pain

Fighting pain day after day is exhausting. Pain medications help, but there are many misconceptions about pain meds. Medications help control pain; they don’t heal it. Take the prescribed dosage, not more or less. A smaller dose may not be enough to control yur pain, and a pain crisis may result. A larger dose may be dangerous.

Many people refuse to take their pain medications unless they are in severe pain, but once pain is controlled, it is much easier to manage if you just keep taking a maintenance level of medication. Preventing pain from developing is much easier than treating pain once it has become a problem.

There are also those who feel taking pain medication is an indication of weakness. For a long time, there were billboards that said, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” That is so untrue! Pain is a sign that something is wrong in your body, it is not a sign you are weak!

Another reason people fight taking meds is their fear of becoming addicted. After working for many years in hospice, I have found it true that medications used when you are in pain go to the site of the pain, not to the pleasure centers in the brain.

Pain can be controlled, and following your prescribed dosage and frequency schedule is key to managing your pain.