How Important Is a Support System for People with PTSD?

 

How important is a support system for people with PTSD?

 

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[Lt. Col. Philip Holcombe] People who have post-traumatic stress disorder who come home to supportive environments, whether that's supportive within their military unit to which they belong, whether it's supportive in terms of the family to which they belong or their friend network, they do much better, and the reason that they do much better is that we all do better when we have people to help us bear the load. And so this encouragement that can come from a healthy family is very important. The reverse is also true. If a person with post-traumatic stress disorder returns to a family that's having significant problems with functioning in healthy ways, or they return to a unit that is also having significant problems with functioning in healthy ways, they're not going to do well while they're in those environments, or it's less likely that they're going to do well while they're in those environments. So what I tend to say is that the treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder really requires everybody. My opinion is, it's really not enough just to have the patient and the provider in the room because it's never just the patient and the provider. There's always a context that when the patient leaves the room that the patient returns to. So if the patient learns how to get along in the therapy room, so what? That's really not the important issue. The important issue is they learn how to get along in life, that they start to feel a sense of fulfillment in the job that they do, in their role as a family member, in their role as a friend, and the only way they can do that is if they have an opportunity to work through those needs with a healthy team.
Posted on BrainLine May 8, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.