Each Family is Different. Stay Strong in the Face of PTSD, PTSD Monthly Update - January 2019

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PTSD Monthly Update

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For Providers

Research at the Center

PTSD in the News

January 2019 Issue


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Feature Topic

Each Family is Different. Stay Strong in the Face of PTSD.

Elderly woman

Learn About the Effects PTSD Can Have on Families

If your loved one has been diagnosed with PTSD, you know some of what they are going through. They might be anxious or get upset frequently. They may struggle with nightmares and flashbacks. But PTSD doesn’t just affect the person living with it. PTSD can cause people to withdraw or disconnect from the people they love.

As Marine Corps Veteran Rick Collier says, "The love is there for the family, but with PTSD it's hard to feel it. It's hard to feel the excitement, the joy, and every part of that."

Common Reactions

While each family and relationship is different, there are some common reactions that your family may have. Early on, you might feel confused about your loved one's behavior. You might also feel depressed or guilty if you can’t seem to help them. You might not even know how to help them.

Resources on how to help family members with PTSD:

PTSD treatment can change lives

Educate Yourself About PTSD

If PTSD is putting a strain on your family or relationship, start by educating yourself about PTSD. The National Center for PTSD publication Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends is a good place to start.

When your loved one is experiencing intense PTSD symptoms, like anger or nightmares, comfort and reassure them. Help them by allowing them to feel what they're feeling in the moment.

Father and daughter

Dr. Matthew Yoder, a psychologist with the National Center for PTSD, also encourages families and partners to learn how to communicate with their loved one after the trauma. Ask your loved one to describe their feelings. Tell them what you are trying to do to help. If you are open, honest, and supportive, your loved one may feel like they can also be honest with you.

Encourage Treatment

Most importantly, encourage your loved one to get treatment. Every VA medical center offers effective, evidence-based treatments in the form of talk therapy and medication.

By getting therapy, Rick Collier found that "through being open and honest about who I am and starting to feel comfortable with myself, I'm starting to live and feel all those emotions with my family."

Each family is different, and each family may cope with PTSD in a loved one in their own, unique ways. Despite the differences, all families have the best chance of moving forward if they encourage treatment and focus on getting their loved one better.

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For Providers

Consult with PTSD Experts

PTSD Consultation Program

The PTSD Consultation Program offers free PTSD consultation to any provider who treats Veterans in any setting.

This program is open to Community Providers.

PTSD Lecture Series

  • February 20, 2019: Spirituality and PTSD, J. Irene Harris, PhD

Mark Your Calendar


Third Wednesday of the month at 2pm ET and download a calendar reminder to save the date.


Sign up to receive monthly emails that include a registration link and instructions for joining the live lectures.

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Research at the Center

Brain Biomarkers Identify Those at Risk of Severe PTSD Symptoms

Researchers at the Center have discovered biomarkers that may explain why symptoms of PTSD can be so severe for some people and not for others. The findings are reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Read more.*

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PTSD in the News

At Vermont Brain Bank, Researchers Wrap Their Heads Around PTSD. Dr. Matthew Friedman, senior adviser to the National Center for PTSD, is helping researchers "boldly go where no one has gone before" — not into the wilds of space, but deep into the brain cells of people with PTSD. In 2014, he and his colleagues founded the National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Brain Bank, the first and only brain bank in the world devoted exclusively to PTSD research. Read more.*

Be sure to forward this update to others so they can subscribe. We send one update per month to keep you informed of the latest PTSD developments.

Thank you,

The Staff of VA’s National Center for PTSD

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Produced by VA’s National Center for PTSD - Executive Division
Email: ncptsd@va.gov | Visit our Website: www.ptsd.va.gov

*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website to a non government site.
VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of these linked websites.