When someone you care about has PTSD, it affects you too. You are probably spending time and energy to help your loved one cope. Even if your partner, family member, or friend with PTSD is getting treament and getting better, you may still feel drained, worried, or even frustrated. You need support at the same time you are giving support.
Learning about PTSD helps you to understand what your loved one is experiencing. But, you need to take care of yourself too. Your own support network - family, friends, and health providers - is a good place to start, but don't be afraid to reach out beyond that close circle. Here are some resources that can help.
You may feel helpless, but there are many things you can do. Nobody expects you to have all the answers. If you feel there is a crisis for you or your loved one, use one of these toll-free, confidential hotlines:
Family members and close friends sometimes neglect their own needs when they commit themselves to caring for someone with PTSD. It is important for you to find support for yourself when you are helping someone deal with PTSD.
Some of the resources listed above are specific to Veterans and Service Members. Additional resources are listed below:
Children respond to their parents' PTSD symptoms. A child may behave like the parent to try to connect with him or her. Some children take on an adult role to fill in for the parent with PTSD. If children do not get help with their feelings, it can lead to problems at school, in relationships, or with emotions (like worry, fear, or sadness).
If your family is having a lot of trouble talking things over, consider trying family therapy. Family therapy is a type of counseling that involves your whole family. It is important that each member of the family, including the children, have a chance to say what they need. A therapist helps you and your family communicate, maintain good relationships, and cope with tough emotions. Your health professional or a religious or social services organization can help you find a family therapist who specializes in PTSD.
Remember, caregivers need care too. Whether you turn to your family, friends, health care providers, or the resources listed here, be sure to get the help you need. To help yourself, you need to take care of yourself and have other people help you.