What do you do if a family member has post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD? The National Center for PTSD, US Department of Veterans Affairs has outlined some steps that may be helpful.
- Educate yourself. The National Center has a wealth of materials, including an explanation of what it is, symptoms, and treatment options. Of note is a guide for family and friends and a video about appropriate treatments.
- Communicate. State that you are supportive and that you know that PTSD does not define him/her as a person.
- Show support. The National Center suggests strategies for showing support such as accompanying the family member to appointments, tracking medications, and allowing him/her to learn how to handle symptoms associated with PTSD.
- Encourage treatment. Talk with the family member about seeking evidence-based treatment. Some people will resist treatment but may be amenable to medications. Medications work best in tandem with evidence-based treatment.
- Additional resources. The National Center offers Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), which is a free, web-based, self-paced course including strategies and resources. The VA offers a toll-free telephone service, 1-888-823-7458, for family members called Coaching into Care, which assists family members learn how to help their Veteran.