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The Unseen Battle: How PTSD Impacts Families and Loved Ones of Our Heroes

PTSD can have a profound impact on families, often affecting their emotional, social, and even physical well-being. Understanding the signs and symptoms of PTSD is crucial for staying actively involved in keeping our nation's heroes healthy.

The impact of PTSD doesn't stop at the individual—it extends to their families as well. Loved ones often find themselves navigating uncharted waters, trying to understand and support their hero through the darkness of their trauma. This journey is not easy, as families must contend with the emotional, social, and sometimes physical toll that PTSD can take.

So, how can families stay actively involved in keeping our nation's heroes healthy and recognizing the signs and symptoms that they may not recognize themselves? Here are some crucial steps:

Physical Signs:

  • Extreme Alertness: Your loved one may seem constantly on edge, easily startled, or hyper-vigilant.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Trauma can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep, nightmares, or restless sleep.

  • Changes in Eating Habits: They may experience a loss of appetite or overeat as a way to cope with their feelings.

Physical Sensations:

  • Aches and Pains: They may complain of unexplained physical pains, especially in the chest, stomach, or muscles.

  • Chronic Pain: Existing pain conditions may worsen, or new chronic pain issues may arise.

  • Other Sensations: They may experience nausea, sweating, racing heart, trembling, or dizziness.

Cognitive Signs:

  • Memory Lapses: Difficulty recalling information, especially related to the traumatic event.

  • Disturbing Flashbacks: They may have intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts, visions, or emotions related to the trauma.

  • Difficulty Concentrating: They may struggle to focus, make decisions, or feel confused.

Emotional and Psychological Signs:

  • Anger and Irritability: They may exhibit frequent mood swings, hostility, or resentment.

  • Anxiety and Fear: They may experience chronic anxiety, worry, panic attacks, or have difficulty relaxing.

  • Depression and Despair: Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or loss of hope may be present.

  • Emotional Numbness: They may seem emotionally detached or disconnected.

  • Shock and Disbelief: Difficulty accepting the reality of what happened.

Behavioral Changes:

  • Social Withdrawal: They may avoid social interactions or isolate themselves from others.

  • Loss of Interest: They may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.

  • Self-Destructive Behaviors: They may engage in risky or self-destructive behaviors.

  • Addictive Behaviors: Turning to substances or addictive activities as a coping mechanism.

  • Impulsive Behaviors: They may act impulsively without considering the consequences.

How You Can Help:

  • Be Supportive: Offer a listening ear and validate their feelings without judgment.

  • Encourage Professional Help: Suggest they speak with a mental health professional who can provide appropriate support and treatment.

  • Educate Yourself: Learn more about trauma and its effects to better understand what your loved one is going through. Talk to them about what you learn.

  • Be Patient: Recovery from trauma takes time, so be patient and supportive throughout their healing journey.

  • Join Victory Bridge Foundation's "Resilience & Recovery - Family, Caregivers, & Loved Ones" to join a supportive virtual community of others Access to a supportive community of caregivers, families, friends, and loved ones of our nation's heroes, providing a space to share experiences, offer support, discuss challenges, and connect with others who understand your journey.

Together, we can create change. Victory Starts Here!

Help keep our Resilience & Recovery Zoom Support Groups going each week by donating just $25:


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