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June is PTSD awareness month

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month is June

Tips for Dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a medical condition where the body experiences difficulty coping with severe stress. There are many triggers, but it is commonly diagnosed in combat Veterans. PTSD can also be caused by witnessing or living through shocking events such as accidents or crimes.

 

In order to know how to deal with a loved one with PTSD, it is important to understand the symptoms. Symptoms can vary in length, intensity, and may even come and go. Veterans and others who suffer from PTSD may experience some or all of the symptoms. Sleeping issues are commonly associated with PTSD. This may come in the form of insomnia or nightmares. Flashbacks of the traumatic event may be experienced. In addition, panic attacks or extreme anger may be symptoms of PTSD. Others may experience depression and suicidal thoughts and may withdraw from their loved ones altogether. There is often shame and guilt that the PTSD sufferer experiences. So how can family, friends, and caregivers help?

 

Encourage Your Loved One to Get Treatment

After a loved one has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder , it is important that they seek a treatment plan. It often takes time to get the right treatment for the individual with PTSD. It is important to find a doctor who has experience in treating PTSD. For Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs can be helpful in connecting the Veteran with an experienced doctor. Counseling is an option for treatment, as well as medication. The symptoms of PTSD may not completely be eradicated with treatment and it may be necessary to try various treatments.

 

Learn Your Loved One’s PTSD Triggers

Veterans and other individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder often have triggers or something that makes their symptoms worse, like loud noises. If your loved one suffers from PTSD, it is important for those around him or her to learn what those triggers are. Avoiding triggers is optimal, but not always possible. Learning to cope with triggers is one way help the PTSD sufferer.

 

Encourage Your Loved One to Stay Connected

Isolation and withdrawing from others is a common occurrence with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers. Although some time alone is fine, find ways to encourage your loved one to avoid isolation. Encourage them to spend time with and keep in touch with friends and family. When your loved one wishes to talk, be available to listen. If possible, find a support group for your loved one. This allows them to find a place where they can be with others who may be experiencing the same symptoms, a safe place to open up, and may help them to feel as though they are not alone.

 

Know Where to Get Help for Your Loved One 

Often other issues arise when a person suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder , such as uncontrollable anger, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts. It is important to be keenly aware of these things and to take them seriously. If a person with PTSD becomes angry, have a plan for a time out and don’t try to reason with them when they are angry. Encourage healthy habits and calm ways to deal with the anger. If the abuse of alcohol or drugs is a problem, it is important to get help for your loved one because this can greatly impair their ability to heal. Finally, if a PTSD sufferer talks about suicide, take it seriously and intervene.

 

Living, loving, and caring for someone who suffers from PTSD is no easy feat. Being informed and seeking help can greatly benefit all of those involved. Not only can the person diagnosed with PTSD seek help, but there is also help and support for the loved ones and caregivers. Support groups, churches, hospitals, and the Department of Veterans Affairs can all help family members, friends, and caregivers find support. Confront PTSD and find ways to heal the patient.  Don’t sweep the issue under the proverbial rug.

 

If you have any questions about something you have read or would like additional information, please feel free to contact us.

Read more related articles at:

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/what/ptsd_basics.asp

 

https://youth.gov/feature-article/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-awareness-month

 

Also, read one of our previous blogs at:

 

What Types of Long-Term Care is Available for Veterans?

VA Caregiver Program

Some Veteran Caregivers Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine through VA

Some Veteran Caregivers Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine through VA

The move is the result of a coalition of veterans groups that lobbied for the caregivers to be sent to the top of the vaccine list, arguing that they deserved to be included in the first wave of medical professionals being protected against the deadly illness, says Military Times’ recent article entitled “Tens of thousands of veteran caregivers now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine through VA.”

Dr. Richard Stone, executive in charge of the VA, released a memo stating that those registered with the department’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers can be given the vaccine “in a coordinated manner with the veterans for whom they provide care.”

More than 6,700 VA patients have died from COVID complications in the last 10 months. Stone’s memo states that decisions will be made “in balance with site-specific resources, needs, vaccine availability, hesitancy to accept the vaccine and status of the pandemic locally.”

In an interview with Military Times, Stone commented that he is shifting many of those vaccination decisions to local officials to give coverage to more individuals.

“We need to leave it up to people at the bedsides, to make sure they are making the best decisions for veterans,” he said. “When someone brings a veteran in to give them the vaccine, they can easily identify what the other needs are.”

Roughly 20,000 veterans are registered in the caregiver program at the Department of Veterans Affairs. This program provides monthly stipends and other support to individuals providing regular medical assistance to infirm veterans.

The data shows that the majority of this group are family members of post-9/11 veterans. The caregiver assistance program was expanded last fall to veterans who served before May 1975.

And recently, a coalition of veteran groups, including The Independence Fund, Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Non-Commissioned Officers Association sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency officials asking them to authorize the VA to administer the caregiver vaccines, under its role as the lead coordinator of federal response to the pandemic.

Dr. Stone said as of January 13, VA officials had administered the first dose of the two-part vaccine to more than 332,000 department health care employees and veterans at high-risk of contracting coronavirus. Another 45,000 individuals have already received their second dose. The vaccine has been sent to nearly 200 department facilities. However, officials have warned that it could be months before they can administer the more than 7 million vaccines they expect to be requested by veterans and staff.

Reference: Military Times (Jan. 14, 2021) “Tens of thousands of veteran caregivers now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine through VA”

Read more related articles here:

Veteran caregivers can receive COVID-19 testing, vaccinations

VA to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to caregivers of Veterans in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers

VA to vaccinate veteran caregivers after policy change

Also read one of our previous blogs at:

What are the Issues with COVID Vaccinations Sign-ups for Seniors?

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

 

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