Many veterans who have returned to their families and jobs in recent years have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some research suggests that roughly 20 percent of those who were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan have symptoms of PTSD or depression.

Family members can help a loved one with PTSD by

  • accompanying him or her to doctor appointments,
  • learning how any medications or therapy are supposed to work,
  • offering a listening ear while giving the person space as needed,
  • organizing healthy activities such as exercise, and
  • encouraging the person to stay socially active.

Bringing the whole family to a therapist may also be useful in helping your loved ones communicate better and giving everyone in the family tools to better deal with the PTSD. If the person with PTSD has anger issues that make communication difficult, develop a plan for how to temporarily step away from upsetting conversations when they arise and return to them later.

Employers can help someone with PTSD during working hours by allowing flexible work schedules, providing tools like checklists and reminders to help the worker stay focused and organized, and remembering that people with PTSD have some good days and some harder days.

Publication Review By: Karen L. Swartz, M.D.

Published: 21 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 13 Feb 2015