Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PTSD & The Holidays: A Quick Survival Guide

At Family Of a Vet we're seeing an even higher than normal increase this year in the number of heroes and families truly struggling with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the holiday season.  It is typical for those faced with PTSD to struggle during this time for a variety of reasons (increased exposure to crowds and unfamiliar places, changing schedules and routines, family gatherings, anniversaries of events they experienced during combat, etc, etc). 

Here are some articles we've found that give tips and suggestions specifically about PTSD and this time of year as well as some links to articles from the FamilyOfaVet.com library that may be particularly helpful!

If you know of an article we missed, please feel free to add it to the comments at the bottom of this post so that others can read it.  Afterall, we're all in this together!!!

Articles about PTSD & The Holidays:

Coping with PTSD and Holidays: http://ptsd.about.com/od/selfhelp/a/Holidays.htm
An article written by Dr. Matthew Tull that not only talks about some of the reasons people with PTSD struggle during this time of year but also gives some great tips and advice.

PTSD and Holidays: http://www.sidran.org/pdf/PTSDandholidays.pdf
An article written by Patience Mason, one of the very first Veteran wives to ever address PTSD and its effects on our heroes and families head on.  Her husband was a Vietnam Veteran and the advice given is real and very useful.

Coping with the Effect of PTSD and Family Holidays: http://ptsd.about.com/od/infoforfriendsfamily/a/Family_Holiday.htm
Another article by Dr. Matthew Tull.  The article provides six tips with details to help those struggling with PTSD handle family holidays, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.

How to Cope with PTSD and the Holiday Season: http://giftfromwithin.org/html/holiday.html
Ideas and tips from several authors about PTSD and the holidays.  Also includes some ideas submitted by a wide range of people who are personally struggling with PTSD at the bottom of the page.

PTSD Spirituality: Holidays and the 18% PTSD Danger Zone: http://www.ptsdspirituality.com/2011/11/06/ptsd-spirituality-holidays-and-the-18-ptsd-danger-zone/
A very long but well-written article that would help not only someone who has PTSD but also family members and friends who want to support them during this stressful time.

Articles & Resources from the FamilyOfaVet.com Library:

Understanding PTSD & How to Really Help: http://www.familyofavet.com/understanding_ptsd_how_to_help.html
An article written to help "civilians" and others who don't know much about PTSD and its impact on our heroes and families understand better.  There is a printable version available to make it easy to share with friends and relatives at the bottom of the page.

Understanding Combat PTSD from the Inside, Out: How PTSD Changes the Brain: http://www.familyofavet.com/understanding_combat_ptsd.html
A great article to share with friends or family who are still sort of in denial about the reality of PTSD.  The article talks about the physical and psychological changes that PTSD creates within the brain.

Combat PTSD in 15 minutes: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/66542
This is a FREE Ebook that is available in all major formats. It gives a good, quick overview of PTSD - what is it, what it looks like, and where to get help.

FOV's 911: http://www.familyofavet.com/911.html
Advice for where to get help right away if you or your veteran are having a crisis.

Also, here are some phone numbers and contacts that can come in handy if you or your Veteran are really struggling over the holidays and need to reach out!

Some Phone Numbers That Can Help:

The National Suicide Hotline (800-273-TALK)
When calling, choose option "1" and you will be routed to VA suicide prevention specialists.

The National Veteran's PTSD Hotline (800-293-1438)
The hotline is answered 24x7 by combat wounded or disabled Vets who can give you info about your closest PTSD related resources.

Vet Center Combat Call Center (877-WAR-VETS)
An around the clock confidential call center where combat Veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff is comprised of combat Veterans from several eras as well as families members of combat Veterans.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE)

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