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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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For Family and Friends

For Families and Friends

Effects of PTSD

PTSD includes a range of symptoms that can effect family members. When someone has PTSD, their ability to function as a parent or partner can be impacted, and changes in their functioning can lead to unmet family needs and increased stress within the family. This section provides information about the effects of PTSD and trauma on families, children, and relationships.


Military families

  • How Deployment Stress Affects Families
    Learn about the challenges facing military families when a Service member is deployed to a combat zone and ways to cope.
  • Partners of Veterans with PTSD
    Discusses common problems experienced in relationships in which one or both of the partners has PTSD. Also discusses treatment options and lists resources.


  • Family Relationships
    Describes how trauma reactions can sometimes get in the way of closeness and connecting with others.

How Can I Help

When someone you love has PTSD, it can change your relationship with them. The person with PTSD may act differently and change the way they express emotions. He or she may not want to do things you used to enjoy together. Fortunately, there are option for making things better. This section provides information on how you can help a loved one with PTSD, including information on very effective treatments for PTSD.

Helping a loved one

Helping a Veteran

How Do I Get Support

When someone you care about has PTSD, it affects you too. You are probably spending time and energy to help your loved one cope. Learning about PTSD helps you to understand what your loved one is experiencing. But, you need to take care of yourself too. Here are some resources that can help.

Family and friends

Military families

You May Also Be Interested In

A phone with the app showing on the screen. In the background, a boy sits on his dad's shoulders.

PTSD Family Coach

Practical help for coping with your loved one's PTSD.

Three male friends sitting with backs to the camera and looking at a mountain range with trees

Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends (PDF)

What you need to know to help yourself and your loved one with PTSD.

A man working on a laptop

Online Course: Help with PTSD

How to guide your loved one into treatment.

PTSD Information Voice Mail: (802) 296-6300
Also see: VA Mental Health