Question from Stephanie: I am writing you in regards to my son, who was enlisted in the Army for 20+ years and at this time, he is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the beginning, he was having bad dreams and would constantly “jerk” during the night. Currently, the dreams seem to be getting worse. I need to find out where to go or who to call in order to get him the help he needs. I’ve been talking it over with him and he does not want to be placed on drugs. We wrote two years ago about the loss of our other son. Any help you could give in this matter will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance.
Response from Ami Neiberger-Miller of TAPS (who is also Military Loss editor for Open to Hope):
I am so sorry for the loss of your son, and that now, you are dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. If left untreated, the PTSD may get worse. Your family doctor may be able to suggest a counselor or therapist who can help, and help you explore other options besides medication. We have heard of innovative therapies involving counseling, tai chi, art, and yoga. I would also suggest contacting the local Vet Center and making an appointment to speak with a counselor. If you go to www.va.gov and then click on locations, you can find a location near you with contact information.
Many veterans with PTSD tell us that they are troubled by memories of seeing a buddy die. There is a special peer-based emotional program for veterans called the TAPS Battle Buddies program. Offered by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), this is a peer support program designed to help military service personnel who are grieving the death of a comrade-in-arms. More information is available on the TAPS website at http://www.taps.org/survivors.aspx?id=1076 or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your spouse is a veteran who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and is currently going through the disability evaluation system or processing a VA claim, free legal help is available from www.LawyersServingWarriors.org. The percentage rating assigned to a veteran going through this system determines the level of benefits that they and their family receive for life. Having the advice of an attorney trained in veterans benefits while going through the disability and claims process can help you think about long-term needs and focus on a recovery from PTSD.