Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Family and Community

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can harm your relationships with your family and community. Feelings of anger and depression and not wanting to deal with people can make it hard to connect with them. Pay attention to how you act with your family and try not to pull away. Your relationships can make a big difference in your recovery from PTSD.

Here are things you can do to help yourself, your family, and your community better understand and deal with PTSD.

  • Know when to get crisis help. Sometimes you need help right away. This may be the case when you have had thoughts about suicide or if anger turns to rage.
  • Help your family. Your family plays an important part in your recovery from PTSD. But you also have to help them. This means:
    • Talking to your family about PTSD and what it does to you.
    • Talking to your kids. Be sure they know they aren't to blame.
    • Talking about your triggers. Triggers are places, sounds, and sights that can cause symptoms. They can be locations, social events, or holidays.
  • Remember that life transitions, even positive ones such as getting married, having a baby, or starting a new job, can cause stress and result in more PTSD symptoms.
  • Keep in mind that your relationship to your community can be changed by PTSD.

Your family and community are part of your recovery. Do as much as you can to work with them. With knowledge, your family and community can better help you.


One Man's Story:

"Talking about it with my wife is getting easier. The more I talk about it with people, the better."-Tim

Read more about Tim.

What can others do to help?

  • If you care about someone with PTSD, here's what you can do to help.
    • Learn what you can about PTSD. The more you know, the better you can understand what your loved one is going through.
    • Help your loved one make friends and form a social network.
    • Learn how to deal with anger. Both you and your loved one may be angry at times.
    • Learn the best way to talk with your loved one. Be positive when you can. Don't give advice unless you are asked.
    • Take care of yourself by taking time for yourself and having your own support system.

Some people with PTSD are also depressed. For information on how to help with this, see:

Depression: Helping Someone Get Treatment.
Depression: Supporting Someone Who Is Depressed.

Your family and community are part of your recovery. Do as much as you can to work with them. With this knowledge, your family and community can better help you.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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