Treatment Possibilities for PTSD Service Members and Their Families
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that develops in individuals who have gone through a dangerous, shocking, or scary scenario. Most military service members are prone to PTSD since they experience traumatic events while on duty especially during combat. As the service members return from deployment, the disorder not only eats them alive but also their families. Therefore, everyone is faced with the challenge of identifying the most effective form of treatment. Lynn Hall in her book Counseling Military Families indicates that surviving members of the service with PTSD often lose interest in sexual or sexual activities, experience a sense of emotional numbness, and feel separated from others (p.223). She further goes on to say, “the partners, friends, or family of these young service members often feel hurt, alienated, or discouraged because the survivor has not overcome the effects of the trauma, and they eventually become angry or distant.” (p.224). The statement supports the argument that there exist two significant wartimes stressors for military families including the PTSD of the service member from combat and the secondary traumatic stress that develops within family members of the soldier. The partners of the service members are likely to feel tense and pressured or even controlled. The nightmares from the survivors also prevent their significant others from falling asleep while other soldiers engage in alcoholism and drug abuse due to PTSD thus raising concern for possible solutions.
One of the major ways most individuals with PTSD and family members use to thwart the disorder is through professional therapy. PTSD survivors recognize several professional treatments as of great importance when dealing with relationship problems. These include; family therapy, individual and group psychotherapy, assertiveness training, anger and stress management, couples’ communication classes, and family education classes. (Hall, 2016 p.225) Therapy can be done in a caring and safe environment, whereby victims can learn once again to create intimate relationships successfully and be able to maintain them. Service members can return to normalcy if their families can do the following;
· Establish a network whereby soldiers with PTSD can cope and rebuild relationships
· include relaxation, playfulness and mutual enjoyment for soldiers returning from combat
· continually strengthen their communication and problem-solving skills
· teach them how to be open with their feelings and do it with respect and passion
Professionals indicate that revisiting the experience of war in a truthful way that sets the heart free from past bondages can help the survivor’s soul to heal. Therefore, family members should work on making the service member come clean and share their experiences with trust and candidness and help them shun distancing behavior. Partners should also assess the possibility of their spouses exercising domestic violence and seek professional services if the possibility exists. They should also help each other by providing feedback about their needs and set limits on their emotional involvement or learn how to manage it (Hall 2016, p.228-229).
When treating a service member with PTSD, it’s crucial for their family members to be included as well. This is because treating the family as a whole increases the chances of creating a positive enduring change. Otherwise, the disorder could destroy the whole family. Hall indicates the grave consequences of excluding family members from the treatment by writing in page 226 of Counseling Military Families that “the soldier brings the battle home, but the battle lives on within the couple’s relationship and threatens their bond,” a quote from Sneath & Rheem (2011).
Hall, L. (2016). Counselling Military Families (2nd ed., pp. pg. 223 - 230). New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
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