Tips for how to help someone with PTSD

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You don't have to be a member of the armed forces to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but nearly 20 percent of service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan reported having symptoms. In recognition of June as PTSD Awareness Month, Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP) is offering 10 tips for how to help someone who may be suffering from PTSD.    

"It is a sign of strength for a returning service member to acknowledge they may have PTSD and ask for help," said John Roberts, executive vice president, mental health and family services for Wounded Warrior Project™. ""These 10 tips are meant to directly help those dealing with PTSD," added Roberts. "They are also to help others understand that PTSD can be treated and is a normal human reaction to abnormally stressful situations. PTSD can happen to anyone."

10 Tips for Helping Someone with PTSD

1. Let the veteran determine what they are comfortable talking about and don't push.

2. Deep breathing exercises or getting to a quiet place can help them cope when the stress seems overwhelming.

3. Writing about experiences can help the veteran clarify what is bothering them and help them think of solutions.

4. Alcohol and drugs may seem to help in the short run, but make things worse in the long run.

5. Crowds, trash on the side of the road, fireworks and certain smells can be difficult for veterans coping with PTSD.

6. Be a good listener and don't say things like, "I know how you felt," or, "That's just like when I…" Even if you also served in a combat zone. Everyone's feelings are unique.

7. is a website where warriors and their families can find tools on how to work through combat stress and PTSD issues. Learn about more mental health support resources that ease symptoms of combat stress.

8. Remind warriors they are not alone and many others have personal stories they can share about their readjustment. Talking to other warriors can help them cope.

9. Allow and encourage warriors and their family members to express their feelings and thoughts to those who care about them.

10. Let them know that acknowledging they may have PTSD says they're strong, not weak.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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