Chronic PTSD in Veterans: A Public Health Crisis

When post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans goes untreated, it doesn’t just go away or fix itself. It becomes a chronic, far-reaching part of people’s lives, families, and communities. The chances of PTSD lingering and wreaking silent havoc are high, and often people don’t even realize they’re dealing with a chronic, progressive disease that can be effectively treated. Everyone hurts, but no one knows what to do about it.

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He Survived. His Friends Didn’t.

When it comes to my veteran husband’s PTSD, there’s one symptom that haunts him more than the others. It follows him into his dreams and pounces without warning. Some nights it’s all he can talk about. What hurts him the most is his survivors’ guilt.

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Parents With PTSD and the Children We Don’t See

Like alcoholism, I think of PTSD as a family disease. Already, I’ve seen it take root in my young family as PTSD continues to haunt my veteran husband. Unfortunately, though, few studies have focused on veterans’ spouses, and even fewer have explored the ways parents’ PTSD affects their children. This is an issue that needs and deserves more attention because trauma can also be intergenerational, a sickness that gradually infects the whole family.

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18 Reasons I Love Being a Veteran’s Spouse

Being married to a veteran with PTSD isn’t always a smooth ride. My own marriage has been scarred by depression, secondary trauma, and alcoholism, but I’ll be honest with you: these problems weren’t always my husband’s fault. I dragged plenty of my own humanness into this relationship.

That being said, I love being a veteran’s spouse. This is why.

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Our Hurting Vets and Their Hurting Wives

Even though 48 to 55 percent of people with PTSD also have depression, little is known about why the two disorders are so closely related and how they change over time.

If you’re married to a veteran with PTSD and depression, this is the last thing you want to hear. You want answers. You want to know how these co-occurring conditions are connected, what all this means for you as a veteran’s spouse, and what you can do to cope and support your partner.

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Flashbacks in Veterans: When the War Never Ended

His eyes turned black like fear. I didn’t want to get too close. Every once in a while, he seemed startled to see me beside him, as if he weren’t sure who I was or what I meant to do to him. That night, he cried. He raged. He watched his friends die in his head all over again. I tried to bring him back, but I couldn’t. All I could do was wait for the episode to run its course.

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Post-War Casualties

Extensive research shows that veterans’ PTSD and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand to terrorize families already desperately trying to survive. Whether they’re perpetrators or victims, war veterans with PTSD experience significantly more violence in their homes than civilians who don’t have PTSD.

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PTSD and Alcoholism: Making a Bad Situation Even Worse

One of the most common ways that combat veterans cope with their PTSD is by drinking alcohol. A lot of alcohol. In fact, one-third of veterans currently getting treated for PTSD also struggle with alcoholism, and those are only the ones getting help. As a spouse, this can be a frustrating situation until we take a moment to remember that people have reasons for doing the things they do.

If your soldier suffers from a drinking problem, know that you’re definitely not alone:

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How Someone Else’s PTSD Can Change Us

Many people don’t understand the impact of PTSD on the spouse. even though it can be devastating. In fact, veteransspouses can develop symptoms of PTSD, and don’t always know where to turn. They suffer in silence while dressing someone else’s wounds.

But how exactly can someone else’s PTSD change a person?

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