PTSD can overshadow someone’s life, even to the point where routine activities become unbearable. For military veterans and their family members, it can be shackling, chaining them to events of the past and unable to find healing. However, there is hope. Read on for important information on where to get help for PTSD and refresh your life.
What Happens When Someone Has PTSD?
PTSD can manifest in a number of ways. Symptoms can include things like nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of reminders, jittery feelings, numbness or apathy, and continually searching for potential threats. Those who have PTSD often struggle with addiction, have relationship problems, experience despair, hopelessness, or guilt, and they can even experience physical illnesses as a result of PTSD.
Turning for Help
Fortunately, there are several sources for help, and veterans often turn first to the Department of Veterans Affairs for assistance. You can take an online assessment to help you get started. The VA’s screening process can help determine what type of treatment might be warranted, as well as what sort of support is needed.
Build a Team
Oftentimes, people with PTSD find it helpful to assemble an emotional wellness team, which is a group of professionals who can help you heal. As an example, military social workers can be instrumental in helping with PTSD victims.
The National Association of Social Workers explains that military social workers are trained specifically to assist military service men and women, veterans, and their families. They often complete a Master of Social Work degree from an accredited university, and in the process of their education, they are taught to diagnose psychosocial issues. These professionals can work with you to develop healthier social functioning and ease issues such as depression and anxiety. They can also provide help and support to family members.
A psychologist or psychiatrist can also address PTSD. These professionals complete graduate school, earning a doctorate degree. Psychologists often go to graduate school for five to six years and must be licensed in the state where they practice. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating mental illnesses. Both psychologists and psychiatrists are doctors with extensive training in diagnosing and treating issues such as PTSD.
Along those same lines, a primary care physician can also contribute to an emotional wellness team. Your doctor through the VA can be an important resource, coordinating care, communicating with you about appointments, and addressing physical symptoms.
Beware of Self-Medicating
Many people turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to offset PTSD symptoms. Unfortunately, this can lead to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In this case, you would likely undergo treatment both for your addiction and PTSD simultaneously. This allows a therapist to address emotions and triggers associated with the addiction and enhances the chance of a sustainable recovery.
It Takes a Village
When searching for resources and tools, don’t overlook your community. For instance, the church can provide support, spiritual guidance, and prayer for veterans and their families. Pacific Standard notes that some veterans can find healing in performing volunteer work.
Sometimes it can help to feel less singular in your struggle as well, and if you would like to read about other veterans who are dealing with PTSD, Make the Connection is a fantastic website where people can share their stories.
When someone suffers from PTSD, it can make living a functional life impossible. Connect with help if you need it, as there are both professional and community members who can support you. You blessed us with your service; now, please allow us to