When You Love Someone who has PTSD - PTSD Monthly Update, February, 2021

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PTSD Monthly Update - News Relevant to the Issues of Trauma and PTSD

February 2021


When You Love Someone who has PTSD

A man and his daughter looking at the camera.


If someone close to you has experienced a traumatic event, it can be hard to know how to support them. The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving—which may lead to troubled family relationships or friendships.

Here are several ways you can help your loved one, strengthen your relationship, and take care of yourself too.


  • Take care of your own health.
  • Continue doing the things you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Recognize the effects of PTSD on relationships | Available en Español.
  • Be realistic about how much you can do.
  • Talk about what you’re going through with your own support network.
  • Visit AboutFace to hear stories about PTSD and treatment from Veterans and their loved ones.
  • Consider seeing a counselor or therapist.


  • Plan enjoyable activities with friends and family.
  • Encourage them to get treatment.  Available en Español.
  • Offer to go to the doctor with them.  
  • Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program for support in getting your loved one into treatment.
  • Make a crisis plan – together.
  • Check in with them often.
  • Be a good listener.


Supporting someone with PTSD can take a lot of time and energy—and it can be stressful. It’s common to feel that taking care of yourself is selfish, or that you don’t have time. But taking care of yourself is actually an important part of caring for your loved one. If your needs are met, you’ll be a stronger source of support for them.

Read more about  support...

For Providers


PTSD Consultation Program

Treating Veterans with PTSD? We can help.

Any healthcare provider treating Veterans can ask our expert clinicians a question.  Meet our consultants and get started.

PTSD Monthly Lecture Series

March 17, 2021 at 2pm ET - An Update on How Mental Health Providers Can Care for Themselves and Support Colleagues During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Patricia Watson, PhD

  • Mark your calendar for the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 2pm ET
  • Subscribe to monthly emails to find out how to join live lectures.
  • Registration is required to receive free continuing education credit for attending the live lecture.

Resource of the Month: Free Continuing Education Course

Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy (CBCT) for PTSD: This course provides an overview of an evidence-based approach for treating PTSD that includes a family member in treatment. 

Research at the Center

Alcohol and Cannabis Use Disorders and Suicide Risk


Alcohol and cannabis use disorders are each associated with increased suicidal behavior, but it is unclear how their comorbidity relates to suicide risk. Understanding these associations in U.S. military Veterans is especially important, given their heightened risk for suicide, high prevalence of AUD, and increasing access to cannabis. 

Center researchers compared alcohol and cannabis use disorders with suicide ideation, plans and attempts in 4,069 veterans surveyed in 2019-2020 as part of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study.

Read more...*

PTSD in the News

Vets' depression, social support & psychological resilience play role in later well being

Dr. Dawne Vogt, research scientist at our Women’s Health Sciences Division, talks with newswise about the first study to examine how veterans' demographic and military characteristics, trauma history, health status and coping resources work together to impact their post-military well-being.  Read more...*

Optimistic People Live Longer

Dr. Lewina Lee, clinical research psychologist at our Clinical Neurosciences Division, talks with Eat This, Not That! about positive psychosocial factors that can promote healthy aging. Read more...*

Brain tissue yields clues to causes of PTSD

Dr. Matthew Girgenti and Dr. John Krystal of our Clinical Neurosciences Division talk with Sci Tech Daily, about recent research involving a post-mortem analysis of brain tissue from people who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read more...*

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Thank you,

The Staff of VA’s National Center for PTSD

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