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Beyond the battlefield Relationships and PTSD

By Don Short

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often BODY & SOUL

experienced by veterans who have been exposed to violence and horrors related to their deployment in combat areas of war. In my counseling practice, I have seen veterans from the Vietnam War, Iraq War and other deployments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Many come home from their deployments with traumatic memories of their experiences. Their memories may induce flashbacks which can create feelings of anger, irritability and severe anxiety. The veteran may have difficulty sleeping and may have nightmares that disturb their sleep. For these veterans, even though they are home, the war is not over. They wear the physical and emotional scars that constantly remind them of their experience. Many family and friends find themselves in situations they are not prepared for and do not expect thus the relationship becomes strained. These experiences of PTSD can interfere with their relationships in the areas of trust, emotional closeness and managing conflict. It is not unusual for them to feel numb emotionally which then in turn makes them feel emotionally distant from family members who care for them. Family members may feel hurt, rejected and discouraged. Over time, as distance grows and communication breaks down, the problems are not resolved and the relationship deteriorates. Some times veterans will turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to deal with their PTSD symptoms, but this results in further deterioration of their relationships.

To help our relationship with veterans in our family we must do four things: 1. Help them establish a personal support network to cope with all symptoms of their PTSD.

2. Be open and honest in the sharing of feelings and concerns. 3. Work together to improve and strengthen communication and problem solving skills. In the Bible we are told to encourage one another (I Thessalonians 5:11).

4.

Create an environment of mutual enjoyment in your relationship. Continued on page 22

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July 2015

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Covenant Spotlight magazine July 2015 issue  

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