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Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
PTSD, a silent battle | Meg Rintoul | TEDxTownsville - YouTube

Let's start a conversation in support of the caregivers who love someone with PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress rewires the neural and sensory pathways to trap your brain and body in that traumatic event that triggered your survival response. This complicates interpersonal relationships, believe it or not, and those closest to the most seriously wounded souls often find themselves feeling frustrated and alone.

Knowledge is power. Let's build a base of information that helps us better understand the physical changes that cause the errant behavior and explore ways to support both the patient and the caregiver that live with post traumatic stress injuries with an eye to create an atmosphere of safety, acceptance and vision for a more peaceful future.

Please feel free to share your frustrations as well as your solutions to challenges that arise. The larger this conversation becomes the more we can share successful tactics for living with the hidden wound.

We know from recent studies and clinical data that cannabis is the only drug to successfully hit all seven symptom clusters of post traumatic stress and it'll do that with no side effects other than the possibility of getting too high if you overdo a dose, or get the munchies. There's a thread dedicated to this subject that I believe is worth reading.

Cannabis For PTSD: A neurobiological approach to treatment

The vast majority of the current attention to those walking around with lives embellished with post traumatic stress is focused on returning soldiers and veterans, but the injury isn't limited to this population, and in fact most sufferers never saw combat in the military world.

The people who love their walking wounded also run the risk of developing vicarious post traumatic stress. If we share ways to successfully cope with the challenges ahead, hopefully those numbers can be diminished. Too often caregivers sacrifice themselves and everyone pays a price for that mistake. So let's explore ways to help those caregivers find their center, express their own passions, and avoid the traps of getting lost in the support role they play so well.

Feel free to say anything, ask anything. Let's do what we do best, put our heads together to make a better world for those hurting and the loved ones supporting and caring for them.

"A Soldier's Memoir" PTSD Song by Joe Bachman OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO - YouTube
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

To kick us off I've tracked down a couple videos that I felt were most insightful and helped me understand better what happens in the brain that causes PTSD, and some fine points on dealing productively with those changes. There'll be other videos that'll show up. Feel free to add any you believe will be helpful, as well as any other information you feel might be pertinent to the ongoing conversation.

Caregiving: A Balloon Image of PTSD - YouTube

The effect of trauma on the brain and how it affects behaviors | John Rigg | TEDxAugusta - YouTube

Understanding PTSD's Effects on Brain, Body, and Emotions | Janet Seahorn | TEDxCSU - YouTube
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

A helpful article I came across on supporting a loved one with post traumatic stress.

How to Help Someone with PTSD

The link to the original article. These people put a lot of time and expense into collecting this information and maintaining the site. If you visit, consider a donation to their cause. There's a link on the site to do so, should you desire to help them out.

Helping a Friend or Loved One with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorderhttp://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/ptsd-in-the-family.htm



When someone you care about suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. The changes in your loved one can be worrying or even terrifying. You may feel angry about what’s happening to your family and relationship, or hurt by your loved one’s distance and moodiness. But it’s important to know is that you’re not helpless. Your support can make all the difference in your partner, friend, or family member’s recovery. With your help, your loved one can overcome PTSD and move on with his or her life.

The impact of PTSD on relationships

PTSD can take a heavy toll on relationships. It can be hard to understand your loved one’s behavior—why he or she is less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. You may have to take on a bigger share of household tasks, deal with the frustration of a loved one who won’t open up, or even deal with anger or disturbing behavior. The symptoms of PTSD can also lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.

It’s hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but it’s important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over his or her behavior. Your loved one’s nervous system is “stuck” in a state of constant alert, making him or her continually feel vulnerable and unsafe. This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one can’t simply choose to turn off. With the right support from friends and family, though, your loved one’s nervous system can become "unstuck" and he or she can finally move on from the traumatic event.

6 tips for helping someone with PTSD

Provide social support
Be a good listener
Rebuild trust and safety
Anticipate and manage triggers
Deal with volatility and anger
Take care of yourself

Tip 1: Provide social support

It’s common for people with PTSD to withdraw from friends and family. While it’s important to respect your loved one’s boundaries, your comfort and support can help the person with PTSD overcome feelings of helplessness, grief, and despair. In fact, trauma experts believe that face-to-face support from others is the most important factor in PTSD recovery.

How to support your loved one

Knowing how to best demonstrate your love and support for someone with PTSD isn’t always easy. You can’t force your loved one to get better, but you can play a major role in the healing process by simply spending time together.

Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Instead, let them know you’re willing to listen when they want to talk, or just hang out when they don’t. Comfort for someone with PTSD comes from feeling engaged and accepted by you, not necessarily from talking.

Do “normal” things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. Encourage your loved one to participate in rhythmic exercise that engages both arms and legs, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies that bring pleasure. Take a fitness class together, go dancing, or set a regular lunch date with friends and family.

Let your loved one take the lead, rather than telling him or her what to do. Everyone with PTSD is different but most people instinctively know what makes them feel calm and safe. Take cues from your loved one as to how you can best provide support and companionship.

Manage your own stress. The more calm, relaxed, and focused you are, the better you’ll be able to help a loved one with PTSD.

Be patient. Recovery is a process that takes time and often involves setbacks. The important thing is to stay positive and maintain support for your loved one.

Educate yourself about PTSD. The more you know about the symptoms, effects, and treatment options, the better equipped you'll be to help your loved one, understand what he or she is going through, and keep things in perspective.

Accept (and expect) mixed feelings. As you go through the emotional wringer, be prepared for a complicated mix of feelings—some of which you’ll never want to admit. Just remember, having negative feelings toward your family member doesn’t mean you don’t love them.

Tip 2: Be a good listener

While you shouldn’t push a person with PTSD to talk, if they do choose to share, try to listen without expectations or judgments. Make it clear that you’re interested and that you care, but don’t worry about giving advice. It’s the act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say. A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on.

Some of the things your loved one tells you might be very hard to listen to, but it’s important to respect their feelings and reactions. If you come across as disapproving or judgmental, they are unlikely to open up to you again.

Communication Pitfalls to Avoid

Don't . . .

Give easy answers or blithely tell your loved one everything is going to be okay

Stop your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears

Offer unsolicited advice or tell your loved one what they “should” do

Blame all of your relationship or family problems on your loved one’s PTSD

Invalidate, minimize, or deny your loved one’s traumatic experience

Give ultimatums or make threats or demands

Make your loved one feel weak because they aren’t coping as well as others

Tell your loved one they were lucky it wasn’t worse

Take over with your own personal experiences or feelings

Tip 3: Rebuild trust and safety

Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages people’s ability to trust others and themselves. Anything you can do to rebuild your loved one’s sense of security will contribute to recovery.

Express your commitment to the relationship. Let the person know you’re here for the long haul so he or she feels loved and supported.

Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. That may mean help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply “being there” for the person.

Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.

Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.

Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by being trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on the things you say you’re going to do.

Emphasize your loved one’s strengths. Tell your loved one you believe he or she is capable of recovery and point out all your loved one’s positive qualities and successes.

Encourage your loved one to join a support group. Getting involved with others who have gone through similar traumatic experiences can help some people with PTSD feel less damaged and alone.

Tip 4: Anticipate and manage triggers

A trigger is anything—a person, place, thing, or situation—that reminds your family member of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback.

Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers don’t have to be external. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.

Types of PTSD triggers

Common external triggers
Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma

People, locations, or things that recall the trauma

Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day

Nature (certain types of weather, seasons, etc.)

Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events

Situations that feel confining (stuck in traffic, at the doctor’s office, in a crowd)

Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments

Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment

Common internal triggers
Physical discomfort, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, sickness, and sexual frustration

Any bodily sensation that recalls the trauma, including pain, old wounds and scars, or a similar injury

Strong emotions, especially feeling helpless, out of control, or trapped

Feelings toward family members, including mixed feelings of love, vulnerability, and resentment

Talking to your loved one about triggers

Ask your loved one about things he or she did in the past in response to a trigger that seemed to help (as well as those that didn’t). Then you can come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future.

Ask what your loved one would like you to do during a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. You’ll also be in a much better position to help your loved one calm down.

How to help in the middle of a flashback or panic attack

During a flashback, people often feel a sense of disassociation, as if they’re detached from their own body. Anything you can do to “ground” them will help.

Tell them they’re having a flashback and that even though it feels real, it’s not actually happening again
Help remind them of their surroundings (for example, ask them to look around the room and describe out loud what they see)

Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths (hyperventilating will increase feelings of panic)
Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them

Ask before you touch them. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make him or her feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence

Tip 5: Deal with volatility and anger

PTSD can lead to difficulties managing emotions and impulses. In your loved one, this may manifest as extreme irritability, moodiness, or explosions of rage.

Understanding anger in PTSD

People suffering from PTSD live in a constant state of physical and emotional stress. Since they usually have trouble sleeping, it means they’re constantly exhausted, on edge, and physically strung out—increasing the likelihood that they’ll overreact to day-to-day stressors.

For many people with PTSD, anger can also be a cover for other feelings such as grief, helplessness, or guilt. Anger makes them feel powerful, instead of weak and vulnerable. For others, they try to suppress their anger until it erupts when you least expect it.

Watch for signs that your loved one is angry such as clenching jaw or fists, talking louder, or getting agitated. Take steps to defuse the situation as soon as you see the initial warning signs.

Try to remain calm. During an emotional outburst, do your best to stay calm. This will communicate to your loved one that you are “safe” and prevent the situation from escalating.

Give the person space. Avoid crowding or grabbing the person. This can make a traumatized person feel threatened.

Ask how you can help. For example: “What can I do to help you right now?” You can also suggest a time out or change of scenery.

Put safety first. If the person gets more upset despite your attempts to calm him or her down, leave the house or lock yourself in a room. Call 911 if you fear that your loved one may hurt himself or others.

Learning how to control anger

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but when chronic, explosive anger spirals out of control, it can have serious consequences on a person’s relationships, health, and state of mind. Your loved one can get anger under control by exploring the root issues and learning healthier ways to express their feelings.

See: Anger Management

Tip 6: Take care of yourself

Letting your family member’s PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout. In order to have the strength to be there for your loved one over the long haul, you have to nurture and care for yourself.

Take care of your physical needs: get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat properly, and look after any medical issues.

Cultivate your own support system. Lean on other family members, trusted friends, your own therapist or support group, or your faith community. Talking about your feelings and what you’re going through can be very cathartic.

Make time for your own life. Don’t give up friends, hobbies, or activities that make you happy. It’s important to have things in your life that you look forward to.

Spread the responsibility. Ask other family members and friends for assistance so you can take a break. You may also want to seek out respite services in your community.

Set boundaries. Be realistic about what you’re capable of giving. Know your limits, communicate them to your family member and others involved, and stick to them.

Trauma can be "contagious"

Caring for someone with PTSD can lead to the potential for secondary traumatization. You can develop your own symptoms from listening to trauma stories or being exposed to scary symptoms like flashbacks. The more depleted and overwhelmed you feel, the greater the risk that you may become traumatized.

Support for people taking care of veterans

If the person you’re caring for is a U.S. military veteran, financial and caregiving support may be available. Visit VA Caregiver Support to explore your options, or call Coaching into Care at (888) 823-7458. For military veterans in other countries, see the Resources section below for helplines.

If you want to learn skills for connecting to others in ways that reduce stress and anxiety, read FEELING LOVED.

More help for PTSD

Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery
PTSD in Military Veterans: Symptoms, Treatment, and Self Help: Helping Yourself on the Road to Recovery for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drinking Problems
Resources and references
General help for family members

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – This 24-hour U.S. hotline for anyone in emotional distress: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

IASP – Find crisis centers and suicide prevention helplines around the world. (International Association for Suicide Prevention).

SIDRAN Institute – A nonprofit organization that helps people understand, recover from, and treat traumatic stress. Includes a referral list of therapists for PTSD.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Call the Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or check out the Family-to-Family Education Program for caregivers of people with severe mental illness in the U.S.

Help for U.S. veterans' family members

Coaching Into Care – Call (888) 823-7458 for free, confidential coaching designed to help family members learn how to talk to their veteran about their concerns and about treatment options.

Veterans Crisis Line – A confidential, free hotline for veterans and their families and friends. Call 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) or connect via chat or text (838255).

Military OneSource – Call 1-800-342-9647 for confidential counseling, non-medical services, and other resources for veterans and their family members. The line is open 24/7.

Help for Veterans with PTSD – Learn how to earn how to earn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment. (National Center for PTSD)

Give an Hour – A nonprofit organization that offers free mental health services to U.S. military personnel and their families affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury – Get help for traumatic brain injury and other psychological health issues. Call 1-866-966-1020 or connect through chat or email. (DoD's Defense Centers of Excellence)

A Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans & Families (PDF) – Comprehensive guide to VA mental health services, including programs and resources for PTSD.

Help for veterans and their families in other countries

Canadian veterans: visit Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) or call 1-800-883-6094 to talk to a peer who has been through similar experiences.

UK veterans: visit Combat Stress or call the 24-hour helpline 0800 138 1619.

Australian veterans: visit Veterans and Veterans Families Counseling Services (VVCS) or call 1800 011 046

General information about PTSD in veterans and the family

Effects of PTSD on Family – When someone in the family has PTSD, everyone feels the effects. Learn about common feelings and reactions among family members. (National Center for PTSD)

About Face – Hear the stories of veterans who live with PTSD. Listen to personal experiences about how PTSD affected their families and how treatment turned things around.

Returning from the War Zone (PDF) – Learn about issues families face when a spouse returns from war and what can be done to prepare for the reunion and cope with the transition to civilian life.

What other readers are saying
“I cannot express how much your article helped open my mind to something I thought I understood. My daughter is dealing with a significant trauma. After many years concealing the event she found her voice and is dealing with the underlying catalyst of her most recent challenges and behaviors. I found the article valuable and afforded me the opportunity to wrap my mind around emotions and thoughts she will be dealing with now.” ~ Florida

“Our daughter recently experienced a very stressful “workplace bullying” incident involving a relentless superior. While not a traditional cause of PTSD, the after effects are similar. Thank you for an informative, insightful article. Glad I stumbled on it and was able to share with my daughter.” ~ Maryland

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Lawrence Robinson. Last updated: October 2016.
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

Another valuable resource from Heal My PTSD.

I hope this is as helpful for you as it feels.

10 Tips for understanding someone with PTSD

10 Tips for Understanding Someone with PTSD
A guide for friends, family and colleagues.

PTSD makes communication difficult.

Many survivors can’t find the words to express what they’re feeling. Even when they do, it’s very normal for them not to be comfortable sharing their experience. Elements of shame, fear, anger, guilt and grief often get in the way of a calm, focused discussion.

Friends and family (and anyone else who is not the source of the PTSD but is standing by while someone attempts to heal) need something that translates PTSD language. Armed with knowledge, insight and awareness you’ll have an easier time knowing how to react, respond and relate to your PTSD loved one during the healing process. The more you appreciate things from the PTSD perspective the more helpful and supportive you can be. Now is the time for empathy, compassion and patience.

The list below will give you an overview of things to understand. For more in-depth information – plus content specifically geared for you, the caregiver – check out the free archives of our radio show, CHANGING DIRECTION, which features professionals and experts weighing in on what you need to know about PTSD and your role.


#1 – Knowledge is power. Understanding the process of a triggering event, the psychic reaction to trauma, the warning signs and symptoms of PTSD, and available treatment options for PTSD allows you to help recognize, support and guide your PTSD loved one toward diagnosis, treatment and healing.

We need you to be clearheaded, pulled together and informed.

#2 – Trauma changes us. After trauma we want to believe —as do you—that life can return to the way it was; that we can continue as who we were. This is not how it works. Trauma leaves a huge and indelible impact on the soul. It is not possible to endure trauma and not experience a psychic shift.

Expect us to be changed. Accept our need to evolve. Support us on this journey.

#3 – PTSD hijacks our identity. One of the largest problems with PTSD is that it takes over our entire view of ourselves. We no longer see clearly. We no longer see the world as we experienced it before trauma. Now every moment is dangerous, unpredictable and threatening.

Gently remind us and offer opportunities to engage in an identity outside of trauma and PTSD.

#4 – We are no longer grounded in our true selves. In light of trauma our real selves retreat and a coping self emerges to keep us safe.

Believe in us; our true selves still exist, even if they are momentarily buried.

#5 – We cannot help how we behave. Since we are operating on a sort of autopilot we are not always in control. PTSD is an exaggerated state of survival mode. We experience emotions that frighten and overwhelm us. We act out accordingly in defense of those feelings we cannot control.

Be patient with us; we often cannot stop the anger, tears or other disruptive behaviors that are so difficult for you to endure.

#6 – We cannot be logical. Since our perspective is driven by fear we don’t always think straight, nor do we always accept the advice of those who do.

Keep reaching out, even when your words don’t seem to reach us. You never know when we will think of something you said and it will comfort, guide, soothe or inspire us.

#7 – We cannot just ‘get over it’. From the outside it’s easy to imagine a certain amount of time passes and memories fade and trauma gets relegated to the history of a life. Unfortunately, with PTSD nothing fades. Our bodies will not let us forget. Because of surging chemicals that reinforce every memory, we cannot walk away from the past anymore than you can walk away from us.

Honor our struggle to make peace with events. Do not rush us. Trying to speed our recovery will only make us cling to it more.

#8 – We’re not in denial—we’re coping! It takes a tremendous effort to live with PTSD. Even if we don’t admit it, we know there’s something wrong. When you approach us and we deny there’s a problem that’s really code for, “I’m doing the best I can.” Taking the actions you suggest would require too much energy, dividing focus from what is holding us together. Sometimes, simply getting up and continuing our daily routine is the biggest step toward recovery we make.

Alleviate our stress by giving us a safe space in which we can find support.

#9 – We do not hate you. Contrary to the ways we might behave when you intervene, somewhere inside we do know that you are not the source of the problem. Unfortunately, in the moment we may use your face as PTSD’s image. Since we cannot directly address our PTSD issues sometimes it’s easier to address you.

Continue to approach us. We need you to!

#10 – Your presence matters. PTSD creates a great sense of isolation. In our post-traumatic state, it makes a difference to know that there are people who will stand by us. It matters that although we lash out, don’t respond and are not ourselves, you are still there, no matter what.

Don’t give up, we’re doing our best.
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

Military Spouses PTSD- A tribute - YouTube

Stress From Caring for Someone with PTSD
Recognizing and Coping with Caregiver Burden

Original article: Stress from caring for someone with PTSD


The stress of caring for a loved one with PTSD. Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Cultura/Getty Images

By Matthew Tull, PhD
Updated November 21, 2016

The impact of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can reach far beyond the individual with PTSD, affecting the lives of the friends and family caring for someone with PTSD. How can you recognize and cope with this stress as a caregiver for a loved one with PTSD?

Stress Associated with Support

Receiving support from others is very important during times of stress. Seeking support from another person is a healthy and effective way of dealing with a stressful event.

During times of stress, people often turn to their loved ones first for support.

It is important to realize that providing support requires energy and can be stressful. It can be upsetting and stressful for a partner or spouse to see someone they care about struggling with a problem. Most times, a partner or spouse will be able to provide support without feeling too taxed themselves. However, when the stress is constant and support is frequently needed, "caregiver burden" may occur.

What Is Caregiver Burden?

PTSD can be viewed as a chronic illness, and the person with PTSD may require constant care from a loved one, such as a wife or husband.

Partners of people with PTSD may be faced with a number of stressors that go along with caring for and living with someone with a chronic disease. These stressors include financial strain, managing the person's symptoms, dealing with crises, the loss of friends or the loss of intimacy.

Due to a loved one's illness, partners may be the only people who can take care of such stressors. This puts a large burden on them, and as a result they may experience tremendous strain and stress, or caregiver burden.

Studies on Caregiver Burden in Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)

A few studies have looked at caregiver burden among partners caring for loved ones with PTSD.

A brief discussion of two of these studies is provided below.

In one study, researchers looked at 58 spouses of veterans with PTSD. They found that the severity of the veterans' PTSD symptoms was connected to the amount of caregiver burden and distress experienced by the spouse. In other words, as a spouse's PTSD symptoms got worse, so did the caregiver's amount of burden and distress.

Other researchers did a similar study with spouses of veterans with PTSD. They found that as PTSD symptoms worsened so did the amount of caregiver burden experienced by the spouse. They also found that violent behavior in the relationship (such as pushing someone, throwing things, physical abuse) was linked with caregiver burden.

Mental Health of Caregivers

Studies looking at the wives of combat veterans have found that this stress can have damaging consequences psychologically. Among wives of combat veterans with PTSD there was an increased risk not only of PTSD, but somatic disease, clinical depression, panic disorder, generLized panic disorder, and an increased level of suicidality.

How Can Caregiver Burden Be Prevented?

It is important that caregivers have basic information about PTSD. Simply knowing the symptoms of PTSD and where they come from, can help caregivers gain a better understanding of their loved one's diagnosis and behavior.


Mental health professionals recognize the stress that comes with caring for a loved one with PTSD. Caregivers may also benefit from attending individual therapy or support groups to find support for themselves, and to learn how to cope better with their loved one's PTSD. Couples counseling may also be useful. Recently, online support groups have popped up, giving caregivers the opportunity to talk 24/7 with other caregivers of people with PTSD. As with any support group it's important to know that while many of these provide excellent support, some groups can actually make you feel more depressed.

If you choose to go online, make sure to connect with people who share your challenges, but support you in coping.

How Can Caregivers Best Cope

Unfortunately, despite the significant impact of PTSD on family and friends, remarkably little research has looked at methods of helping caregivers cope with this stress. In addition, most of the research is dated, and focuses on the incidence of caregiver burden rather than any effort to look at ways of reducing the burden. Not only is the health of caregivers important and worthy of more research, but these caregivers are also the primary source of support needed by those living with PTSD.

Until more is known, caregivers of people living with PTSD may wish to look at ways that caregivers of those with other conditions such as dementia and cancer have coped with their challenge. Learn to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout, and take the time to check out these tips to prevent caregiver burnout before it happens.

One Final Note on Caring for a Loved One with PTSD

Caregivers may feel guilty if they take time for themselves; however, it is important for caregivers to realize that they too need time to "recharge their batteries." Living with and caring for someone with PTSD is stressful.

unlike some conditions which are short term, PTSD is a chronic condition that can feel unending at times. It is a marathon rather than a sprint, and as in a marathon, it's important for caregivers to pace themselves and take time to rest. The more a caregiver can learn how to care for themselves, the better they will be able to care for others. Some of these simple tips for caregivers of cancer patients pertain just as much to caregivers of people with PTSD.

Hopefully the stress impact n caregivers of people with PTSD will be studied more carefully in the near future, not just to document the presence of stress, but to look for ways in which caregivers can best cope.

Sources:

Beckham, J., Lytle, B., and M. Feldman.Caregiver Burden in Partners of Vietnam War Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology. 1996. 64(5):1068-72.

Calhoun, P., Beckham, J., and H. Bosworth. Caregiver Burden and Psychological Distress in Partners of Veterans with Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Trauma and Stress. 2002. 15(3):205-12.

Kalra, H., Kamath, P., Trivedi, J., and A. Janca. Caregiver Burden in Anxiety Disorders. Current Opinions in Psychiatry. 2008. 21(1):70-3.

Klaric, M., Franciskovic, T., Obrdalj, E., Petric, D., Britvic, D., and N. Zovko. Psychiatric and Health Impact of Primary and Secondary Traumatization in Wives of Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychiatry Danubina. 2012. 24(3):280-6.

Yambo, T., and M. Johnson. An Integrative Review of the Mental Health of Partners of Veterans with Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. 2014. 20(1):31-41.
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016

Weaselcracker

Nug of the Year: 2016 - Member of the Month: Sept 2015, Nov 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2016 - Plant of the Month: May 2016
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

Thanks Sue. I'm pretty sure this part
The vast majority of those walking around with lives embellished with post traumatic stress are returning soldiers and veterans...
is not true. Last I read 85% of Americans suffering from PTSD are not veterans. I'd expect that in my country (Canada) combat related PTSD might be an even lower percentage.

What the relationship advice you posted points to, and I'm lucky to have found, is a partner who is rock solid- never stops loving and always stays true to that, no matter what. When you've had your world turned upside down and been through some hellish experiences- you keep expecting it to happen again at any moment. There's no solid footing and you become your own worst enemy- creating more pain and confusion for yourself out of thin air. You need that rock. After a long while you stop battering yourself against it trying to f' things up, and are forced to just accept that they are a true friend. Not everyone is lucky enough to find such a person. But animals make great friends too :)
 

Chew

Well-Known Member
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

A great read again Sue. It's not a condition I have but, some of this I can relate too. The anger management being one... A very helpful post :)
 

walleye

Well-Known Member
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

Thanks Sue, this hit home and may give insight to caregivers why we all have a bit of this we carry. Emotional caution advised. Peace all and in God we trust this nation to past, present and future events.:circle-of-love: No greater love found than our principal of freedom. Thanks to all who continue to believe in what has been given and fought for us here and worldwide.
 
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SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
re: Post Traumatic Stress Injury: Living & Loving With The Hidden Wound

Thanks Sue. I'm pretty sure this part is not true. Last I read 85% of Americans suffering from PTSD are not veterans. I'd expect that in my country (Canada) combat related PTSD might be an even lower percentage.

What the relationship advice you posted points to, and I'm lucky to have found, is a partner who is rock solid- never stops loving and always stays true to that, no matter what. When you've had your world turned upside down and been through some hellish experiences- you keep expecting it to happen again at any moment. There's no solid footing and you become your own worst enemy- creating more pain and confusion for yourself out of thin air. You need that rock. After a long while you stop battering yourself against it trying to f' things up, and are forced to just accept that they are a true friend. Not everyone is lucky enough to find such a person. But animals make great friends too :)
Thank you for pointing that out Weaselcracker. The edit is already in place. I'd meant to change it last night before posting and it slipped past me.

Trauma that causes you to feel threatened is way too common an experience in our lives. Even I came out of my loving marriage gun shy from the numerous times we had that walk to the brink of death, only to step back from the edge and keep up the fight until the next crisis. It took me almost a full year to stop jumping ever time I'd hear an ambulance go by. Even typing that right now causes an intense lack of emotional control. I'm curious as to how long that will take to stop. It's been two years since he died, but the battle to stay ahead of death was twenty years. I shouldn't be surprised that I still react to the triggers.

Sure will be nice to leave that baggage behind though. :4:

No one should have to deal with post traumatic stress without a partner who has compassion and can love unconditionally. I thought a lot about this while pulling this information together, and that capability to love without condition is a primary consideration to successfully weather this challenge. Having someone who can truely be secure enough in themselves to not react as a victim to your occasional convoluted behavior makes it safe for you to redefine yourself. The process screams for a total lack of judgement and an abundance of acceptance and loving.

And no partner to someone learning to live with this silent scream should have to feel isolated. It's easy to think you're alone, and that's not a mindset that's helpful, at any level.
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
4-7-8 Breathing
* minimum practice is twice a day
*expect to see increased results beginning after three month's consistent daily practice

 

Archiweedies

Nug of the Month: Apr 2019
Sue you are so special! My wife has PTSD and though she retired from the Marine Corps she's never been free of her traumatizing memories. She wasn't a front line infantryman or anything. She is a stenographer and part of her job was marking and cataloging evidence. She's done capital murder cases ( one in particular was nationally publicized rather heavily) and the most traumatic was child pornography cases [emoji26]. Im trying to grow good meds that can help her.

Thanks for everything you do Sue!
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
Sue you are so special! My wife has PTSD and though she retired from the Marine Corps she's never been free of her traumatizing memories. She wasn't a front line infantryman or anything. She is a stenographer and part of her job was marking and cataloging evidence. She's done capital murder cases ( one in particular was nationally publicized rather heavily) and the most traumatic was child pornography cases [emoji26]. Im trying to grow good meds that can help her.

Thanks for everything you do Sue!
Thank you Archiweedies. It's knowing someone's going to be able to find relief that keeps me going. My best to the lovely woman lucky enough to have you by her side. Cannabis is the way to go. :5: :love:
 

SweetSue

Member of the Year: 2015 & 2016 - Member of the Month: Mar 2015, Sept 2016 - Nug of the Month: Oct 2017 - Creme de la Creme Photos: Dec 2016
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