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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Effects of PTSD


"If you have a family, [PTSD] becomes a family issue when family members start taking it on."

Robert Murphy

U.S. Army, 1966-1969

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Effects of PTSD

Available en Español

When someone has PTSD, symptoms may affect family and friends. PTSD makes it hard to do everyday things and this may lead to unmet family needs. Partners and children may feel more stress and talking to one another may be tough. This section includes information about the effects of PTSD on families, children and relationships. There are also tips to help cope with challenges.


  • Effects of PTSD on families
    PTSD can make somebody hard to live with. Living with someone who is easily startled, has nightmares, and/or avoids social situations can take a toll on the most caring family members. Research on PTSD has shown the harmful impact of PTSD on families.
  • When a child's parent has PTSD
    A parent's PTSD symptoms can directly affect their children. This section describes how a caregiver's PTSD symptoms impact children and outlines some of the common problems experienced by children of Veterans or other adults with PTSD. This section also provides recommendations for how to cope with these difficulties.


Trauma survivors with PTSD may have trouble with their close family relationships or friendships. The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving which, in turn, may impact the way a loved one responds to the trauma survivor.

  • Relationships
    Read about the circular pattern that may develop which can sometimes harm close family relationships.

Military Families

Military families often deal with unique cycles of stress associated with deployments and may struggle to know how to cope with changes in the family or their deployed loved one. This section provides information for families who may be experiencing difficulties resulting from military deployments.

  • Partners of Veterans with PTSD
    PTSD can affect how couples get along with each other. It can also directly affect the mental health of partners. This section describes common problems in relationships where one or both partners has PTSD and outlines basic information about how to help couples facing these problems.
  • How deployment stress affects families
    This section explains how deployment of a service member to a combat zone can be extremely challenging for a family.

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

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Watch this video on the best treatments for PTSD.

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