Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a difficult and often dangerous mental condition for patients and those around them, the immediate family, the children and especially the spouse. PTSD happens when someone comes back from a truly horrible, violent or near-death experience. Something in the brain snaps; gets rewired and the person with PTSD has no choice but to relive those traumatizing moments physically, mentally and emotionally.
When undiagnosed or untreated, what happens later is an endless stream of coping or adapting to the partner’s bouts of depression and feelings of weakness or uselessness by continuously comforting the partner; of staying up late when the partner experiences horrible nightmares or night terrors related to the experience or even during the day; of being wary for sudden mood swings that sometimes become violent; and of juggling everyday activities like work and chores amidst the demands for attention.
PTSD is a mental condition that needs to be treated and it will simply not go away by hugs and kisses and promises that ‘everything is all right’. Here are some things that need to be done if you have a spouse with PTSD.
Seek professional help – Even though the prospect is hard to accept, your spouse needs professional help and later even you. As a mental condition, professional psychologists can help heal your partner’s troubled psyche and also prescribe the appropriate medication to ease the symptoms.
Set up a security plan – PTSD can be dangerous especially when your spouse experiences vivid waking nightmares or flashbacks. Your spouse can be dangerous to his/herself and everyone around him/her because your partner might be reliving an experience and might not be able to differentiate what’s real. Set up things like having a wireless phone anywhere in the house in case you need help, keep dangerous objects like knives and guns in places easily accessible only to you and practice a quick exit.
Michael Anthony is an Iraq War Veteran and is the Author of: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Destruction, and Dishonor in Iraq.
Check out some of our other posts on PTSD.
Main Updated Article: Best Ways to Treat PTSD for You or Your Spouse.