Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can have a serious impact on a person’s everyday life, and unfortunately it can also take a toll on their relationships with loved ones. Often, a person living with PTSD has painful symptoms, including flashbacks of the traumatic event they survived, nightmares, inability to control emotions, depression, and the desire to isolate themselves from other people or places. These symptoms can cause problems within the home as the sufferer attempts to cope with feelings their family members don’t understand.
For the sufferer, emotions take the biggest hit. It’s common for those living with PTSD to tamp down their feelings to make them easier to cope with, and sometimes this is done with drugs or alcohol, which can in turn cause depression or mood swings that can turn violent. The inability to deal with what they have lived through in a healthy way can lead to a loss of control that involves the spouse or any children living in the home.
PTSD can leave the sufferer feeling worried and stressed for the safety of their family members as well as themselves, making it difficult for them to attend social events or go to certain public places. It can also lead to arguments and stress within the relationship and can make a spouse or significant other feel as though they are confined to the home.
Family members may feel conflicted as they want to understand their loved one’s feelings, but don’t know how to help. They might be confused about the sufferer’s behavior, because sometimes it may seem like they are a completely different person. Living with someone who suffers from severe anxiety, startles easily, and suffers from sleepless nights is not easy, and the family members may want to consider seeking therapy for themselves.
Because PTSD can cause depression and suicidal thoughts–and because many veterans suffer from the disorder–it’s imperative that weapons either not be kept inside the home, or be kept locked up and separated from ammunition. Many PTSD sufferers live with substance abuse as well, in part because substances help them numb their feelings or cope with them, and drugs and alcohol often cause impulsive behavior. Adding these things to depression and easily accessible guns is a recipe for disaster.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Reliving the event through flashbacks or nightmares
- Avoiding certain places or actions
- Feeling wound up and unsure of what to do with that energy
- Changes in feelings or thoughts on a particular subject
It’s important to involve the family in therapy or counseling for PTSD, because it’s all too easy for significant others and children to feel stress, anxiety, and a loss of control when they think they can’t help the sufferer. Children are especially hit hard and can begin to exhibit behavioral problems or issues with performance at school as a result of living with PTSD. There are many treatment options available for the sufferer, including different types of therapy and medication.