Military Missions and Voice of Warriors join together each Tuesday night at 7:00 pm to bring you VOW Talk Radio.
When men and women return from combat, family members step up to care for them. With ten years of war, thousands are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress. When PTSD is brought into the home, the family is going to be directly affected. Many family members find themselves experiencing their own symptoms of what is known as Secondary PTSD.
Dr. Rolando Diaz joins VOW Talk Radio on Tuesday, April 10, at 7:00 pm (EDT) to answer your questions about Secondary PTSD. Dr. Diaz, a Give an Hour provider, and clinical psychologist with an independent practice in Arlington, Virginia, joins our show on the second Tuesday of each month to answer your questions about surviving life after combat.
Dr. Diaz will be clarifying the distinction between true PTSD, secondary experiences that are tied to the trauma that the service member experienced (e.g., a wife having nightmares of her husband’s accident), and the experiences that result from living with someone with PTSD. All of these get labeled the same way but represent very different circumstances and need different treatment approaches.
Listen live by clicking here or calling the show at 424-258-9240. Don’t forget to join our live chat during the show.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate Secondary PTSD
- The survivor may lose interest in family or intimate activities and may become emotionally isolated or detached. Family members may feel hurt, alienated, frustrated and discouraged.
- The survivor may exhibit behaviors that indicate he is irritable, tense, anxious, worried, distractible, startled, enraged, controlling, overprotective, and demanding. Family members may feel like they live in a war zone, often reacting in anger, or purposely distancing themselves from the trauma survivor.
- Even if the trauma occurred decades ago, the survivor may act feel as if the trauma is still happening. Family members may also feel as if their secondary trauma is still happening. As time passes, the family may begin to avoid activities with others, and become isolated from friends outside the family. They may feel that no one outside the family could possibly understand their situation.
- The trauma survivor often feels there is no future for which to look forward. Family members may find it very difficult to have a cooperative discussion with the survivor about important plans and decisions for the future.
- The survivor may have difficulty listening and concentrating. He may become easily distracted, tense, or anxious. He may become hyper vigilant, displaying angry and overly suspicious behavior toward family members. The trauma survivor may become fearful about problems becoming terrible catastrophes. As well, the family may find it difficult to discuss personal or family problems because the survivor may become controlling, demanding, overprotective, and anxious.
- Family members may become over involved with the lives of healthy family members due to need for positive emotional feedback, or they may ignore the healthy members of the family giving all of their attention to the trauma survivor.
- Family members may find their sleep disrupted by the survivor’s sleep problems (reluctance to sleep at night, restlessness, severe nightmares or episodes of violent sleepwalking). Family members also often find themselves having terrifying nightmares, leading to a fear of going to sleep, or difficulty getting a restful night’s sleep.
- Ordinary activities, such as shopping, driving or attending a movie may trigger traumatic memories and flashbacks throwing one into “survival mode” suddenly and without explanation. The survivor may shut down emotionally, or leave abruptly leaving family members feeling stranded, helpless, and worried.
- Trauma survivors with PTSD often struggle with intense anger or rage and often have difficulty coping with the impulse to lash out verbally or physically. Family members can easily feel frightened and betrayed by the survivor, despite feeling love and concern for their loved one.
- Family members are also frequently exposed to emotional, financial, and domestic problems. Survivors experiencing PTSD may seek relief and escape with alcohol or other drugs. Addictive behaviors such as gambling and eating disorders are common. Addictions offer false hope to the survivor by seeming to help for a short time. Soon these addictions increase the fear, anxiety, tension, anger and emotional numbness which go hand in hand with PTSD.
- When suicide is a danger, family members face the unavoidable strains of worry, guilt, grief, fear, and anger.