How to Help a Veteran With PTSD

There are many veterans who have had at least some trauma in their experiences, and some suffer from what is known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Some veterans even have suicidal thoughts and find it difficult to function, or to complete the day-to-day tasks of life. Although the symptoms may not always be overly obvious, there are some signs that will indicate that someone is suffering from these very real and debilitating emotions.

Sometimes a veteran may have lost a limb or have suffered some other injury in the war, and now have limited mobility. No one wants to feel helpless or that they cannot take care of themselves. If you want to help, you can offer your support but it would be better to give a veteran the opportunity to help themselves. That could involve helping a veteran to get the equipment that they need to be self-sufficient, such as having a ramp built to increase the areas that they can go, or helping a veteran to get a motorized wheelchair.


There are different ways to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and it often involves seeing a therapist or going to support group sessions. It can be helpful to get together with others who are suffering from these symptoms rather than just seeing a therapist. A combination of both can be a very effective treatment plan.

Some of the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder include constant alertness, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, and reoccurring dreams that are troubling or flashbacks.

There are organizations in place that are specifically designed to help such veterans, and you can donate to them, or you could donate your time to helping a veteran. You could even visit a veteran who may be emotionally and socially excluded due to depression or mobility roadblocks. Sometimes all someone needs is to feel like they are valued in order to get out of a funk. It can be hard to feel wanted or valued when you are secluded. Often people will turn to drugs or alcohol in order to make themselves forget and to feel better. Other signs that a veteran may have emotional distress include: increased heart rate or rapid breathing, irritability or agitation, insomnia, constant exhaustion, and feelings of sadness, numbness, or shock.

If you know a veteran, or perhaps you have a family member who is suffering from any or all of these symptoms, you should help them to get the help they need immediately. Many times a person who is depressed or suffering from PTSD will not reach out to get help, but they will often take it if it is offered. It is difficult to watch a loved one suffering from depression or another ailment, but the best thing that you can do is be there and to offer your support. It may even get frustrating at times, especially if the person you care about is battling an addiction but you need to try and put your feeling aside and do what is best for the person you are trying to help.

Be sure to check on the person you are concerned about often as the may have mood swings from one day to the next. They may seem fine one day but then take a turn for the worse the next day. Make yourself available as much as you can and give them things to look forward to. Plan out a few fun things to look forward to and give them something to want to do. Maybe you could even bring them a pet to help keep them company when you are not able to visit. Pets have been shown to be very therapeutic and can help to greatly reduce stress. Be prepared for a long road ahead. Depending on the severity of the symptoms of a veteran, they may have to deal with their flashbacks and nightmares for the rest of their life, but with treatment, it can be lessened so that they are better able to function and live a more normal life.

Some veterans are proud and don’t want charity, but if you make it seem as if they are helping you, such as you are trying to meet your goal of doing good every day, they may accept your “help.”


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