How You Can Help Your Veteran With PTSD, PTSD Monthly Update - February 2019

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PTSD Monthly Update

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Feature Topic

For Providers

Research at the Center

PTSD in the News

February 2019 Issue


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Feature Topic

How You Can Help Your Veteran With PTSD


Learn About the Effects PTSD Can Have on Families

Imagine that your loved one has just returned from deployment overseas. Your Veteran is having a hard time getting adjusted to civilian life. You know that they’re having nightmares. They’re also getting angry over small things, and seem to be more anxious nowadays.

These reactions are normal after returning from deployment. But what if they last for more than a few months? Would you know how to help your Veteran?

Your Veteran might have PTSD if:

  • They are reliving or re-experiencing the event
  • Avoiding things that remind them of the trauma
  • Feeling more negative about the world
  • Being on guard

According to Dr. Matthew Yoder, Psychologist with the National Center for PTSD's Consultation Program, "In the short term, after a traumatic event, most people will experience symptoms like these. But after a month – or especially after three months – left untreated, they probably won't get better on their own."

Kinds of "Help" it's Best to Avoid

There's at least one kind of "help" you are better off steering clear of, though. It is best if family members don't enable their loved one's avoidance behaviors. For example, if your loved one gets anxious in crowds, you might want to let them stay home from public events. But when you shield them from crowds or reminders of their trauma, it will be harder for them to get better.

Dr. Yoder says, "Don't change the family structure around so that the person's symptoms are driving decisions." Point out to your loved one---gently---how their symptoms are affecting you and your family.

Coaching Into Care

How to Get Help

VA also has a program called Coaching Into Care to help family and friends of returning Veterans. A coach will help you figure out what to say to your Veteran and to help get him or her into care if needed.

Learn more about helping your Veteran get needed care.

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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

  • March 20, 2019: Treatment Engagement and Retention in Patients with PTSD, Shannon Kehle-Forbes, 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

Family Adaptation to Deployment

The Center is in the midst of a 5 year project examining how PTSD among Veterans deployed to Iraq impacts family mental health and functioning over time. The study will also see if family support lessens the effect of a Veteran's PTSD on family outcomes.

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PTSD in the News

How to help those suffering from PTSD . Learn the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options for PTSD. 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
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