Mother Seeking Help for Military Son With PTSD

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 battlebuddies@taps.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.

Ami Neiberger-Miller

More Articles Written by Ami

Ami Neiberger-Miller, APR, Public Affairs Office - work with TAPS includes working with the news media, designing strategic outreach campaigns, advising surviving families on media relations, speaking to organizations about TAPS, conducting online outreach to raise awareness with core audiences, writing press releases and other materials, and forging partnerships that help build support for TAPS and surviving families. Because she is a surviving family member, Ami brings a unique perspective to her role with TAPS. Ami’s 22-year-old brother, U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Neiberger, was killed in August 2007 by a roadside bomb while serving with the U.S. Army in Baghdad, Iraq. She managed an avalanche of media attention focused on her grieving family and tries to use her personal experience and professional expertise to help others. Ami has emerged as a leading advocate for surviving families through her work with TAPS and the media. She authored a guide to managing the news media for military families dealing with traumatic situations. She has written for PRSA’s Tactics, been interviewed for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and spoken at Columbia University on media coverage and trauma survivors. She has been interviewed by CNN, CBS Sunday Morning, the Pentagon Channel, the Voice of America, and many other outlets. She also appears in the HBO documentary “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery.” As an active member of the TAPS Sibling Support Network, Ami says she finds strength in connecting with others who have experienced the similar loss of a loved one serving in the military. She devoted more than 12 years of her career to helping organizations improve how they communicate and work with the media. She has worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Nature Conservancy, the National 4-H Council, the University of Florida, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, and Sister Cities International. She founded Steppingstone LLC in 2003 and works as a consultant. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida and is accredited in public relations. To learn more about Ami and her work with TAPS, go to: www.taps.org. Ami appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss “Loss & the Military.” To hear her interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley121108.mp3

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  • Georgina says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your one son. I know the pain of losing a child. Before you get involved in claims and attorneys you need to contact your closest Veteran Clinic or Hospital. Your son needs IMMEDIATE medical care. The Veteran Administration now has very extensive assistance for PTSD. The clinic will be able to give you the telephone number for the Crisis Hotline. I do not believe this treatment will cost you or your son any money because he is certainly Service Connected. Please tell your son I thank him for his service to America. Americans need to remember this is the land of the free, because of the Brave

  • tina gordon says:

    my Son Sean died four yrs ago. He witnessed his friend who was beheaded in the helicopter blade accident. He served four years and was highly respected. When he got out of the Navy to raise his son he spiralled and ultimately died of a drug overdose. The military never diagnosed him properly and he suffered from severe PTSD. He left two children behind along with a loving family. He was the light of so many people’s life. If our children are going to support the military why is there noone to help them when they get out. My second son is a top Navy Intelligence officer and i fear everyday that he will someday have problems that the military wont address. please let me know what has been done to better the treatment for our military who are suffering from ptsd….

  • Worried Mom says:

    My son has been suffering with PTSD for some time now. Lately he can not talk to me on the phone without getting angry at me and then hanging up on me. Now I have called 4 times, text messaged 6, and nothing. I know I said something to upset him and I apologized to him. But still after 2 months Nothing. Is this perhaps part of the PTSD? I have a Grandson with this son and his GREAT wife that I have seen one time and he is 2 1/2. I just don’t know what to do anymore.
    Thanks
    worried MOM

  • Gina says:

    I am reading your post seeking helping for my 24 year old son who served in the Marine Corps and now suffers from PTSD. He spent close to 9 months in Afghanistan as an infantryman.
    He has been out of the Marines now for almost 2 years and I have seen his PTSD worsen.

    He has sought help from several therapists and has been on several different medications, but nothing seems to really help him

    He can not go to the closest VA because due to his PTSD he experienced problems while in the Corps and was discharged before his service was up. Despite his service, the VA has turned him away many times saying that although he may classify himself as a veteran, he is not a veteran in their eyes.

    How can this be? My son put his life on the line to defend our freedom and this is what he gets in return – tossed aside like garbage. This is extremely upsetting to me to hear such a ridiculous thing and especially upsetting because I feel the VA may be the only place where my son can get the help he may need.

    Please help!