PTSD and Your Family - Topic Overview
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a
challenge for you and your family. Your family may find it hard to accept some
of the changes PTSD can bring to your life. By talking and supporting one
another, you and your family will be better prepared for these changes.
Your family is an important part of
your recovery. They can be there to listen and to help you through rough
It's also important that you help your family understand
PTSD. They may not always know how to respond when they see you hurting. They
may feel scared, sad, guilty, or even angry about your condition.
Talking about PTSD can help you and your family cope. Talk about your
symptoms and what triggers them. Discuss different treatments and how they can
help you recover. When you open up, your family can better understand what
you're going through.
can help. This is a type of counseling that involves your whole family. A
therapist can teach you how to work through problems and communicate
Talking with your kids about PTSD
kids about PTSD is important. They may not understand why you're feeling bad or
why you get angry sometimes. This can be scary for kids at any age. They also
may blame themselves for things that aren't their fault. Make sure your kids
understand that they aren't to blame for your PTSD.
with your kids about PTSD:
- Be honest and listen to what they have to
- Tell them it's okay to ask questions. Ask them how they're
feeling, and let them know that their concerns are important.
sure they feel safe, secure, and loved. They may be afraid that something bad
is going to happen.
- Provide information about PTSD. Let them know
what it is, how you got it, and how you can recover.
- Encourage a
good support system of friends outside your family. Get them involved in school
activities or youth programs in the community.
- Don't promise that
your PTSD is going to go away soon. Instead, talk about how treatment can help
you feel better. It's okay if you don't have all the answers.
- Be as
positive as you can. Your kids will notice how you react in difficult
situations, which can influence their reactions.
Things that suddenly remind you of your
traumatic event are called triggers. Triggers can bring up stressful feelings
or cause you to have flashbacks, which means you feel like you're reliving the
event all over again.
Trying to avoid triggers is a common
reaction. It's normal to stay away from things that cause you stress. Because
of this, you may feel like you can't do the things you used to enjoy. This may
be hard on you and your family.