Combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a challenging condition that affects not only the individual suffering from it but also their family members. Living with someone who has PTSD can be a daunting experience because the condition’s symptoms can manifest differently in each person, depending on the traumatic event that has occurred. In this article, we will explore the impact of combat-related PTSD on families and discuss ways to support a loved one dealing with PTSD. The PTSD Foundation of America plays a pivotal role in providing valuable resources to those suffering from PTSD and their families, ensuring that they receive the necessary support and guidance.

Understanding the Impact of PTSD on Families

When an individual suffers from combat-related PTSD, their family members may notice significant changes in their behavior, emotions, and relationships. Some common challenges faced by families dealing with a member suffering from PTSD include:

  1. Increased levels of anxiety and stress: PTSD symptoms may cause an increase in anxiety and stress levels, both for the individual affected and their family. The family may feel tense or on edge in anticipation of the affected person’s emotional outbursts, anger, or sadness.
  2. Strained relationships: Experience of traumatic events can trigger emotional detachment in the affected person or lead to them isolating themselves from their loved ones. This can strain personal relationships and may result in feelings of rejection, frustration, and sadness among family members.
  3. Disturbed sleep patterns: People with PTSD often experience sleep disturbances, such as nightmares and night sweats, making it difficult for the entire family to get a good night’s sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate family tensions and negatively influence overall health.
  4. Altered roles within the family: Members of the family may have to take on new roles or responsibilities to cover for the affected individual. This can cause a shift in the family’s dynamics, leading to potential conflicts and increased pressure on other family members.

How to Support a Loved One Suffering from PTSD

If you have a family member struggling with combat-related PTSD, here are some ways you can support them:

  1. Be patient and understanding: It’s essential to recognize the symptoms of PTSD and understand the condition’s impact on your loved one. This will help you empathize with their challenges and provide emotional support.
  2. Encourage open communication: Encourage your loved one to openly communicate their feelings and thoughts. This will enable you to understand their perspective and provide the necessary support. It’s important not to push them into discussing their trauma, but rather to offer a safe space for sharing when they feel ready.
  3. Educate yourself about PTSD: The more you learn about PTSD, the better equipped you’ll be to support your loved one. This includes understanding the different treatment options and resources available, such as those provided by the PTSD Foundation of America.
  4. Create a supportive environment: Ensure that your home environment is peaceful and supportive, offering a safe place for your loved one to heal. Establish routines and schedules to ensure stability and order, which can provide a sense of security to those suffering from PTSD.
  5. Seek professional help: Encourage your loved one to seek professional help, and explore therapy options together. The PTSD Foundation of America offers several programs and resources designed to assist individuals struggling with combat-related PTSD, catering to their unique needs and circumstances.

By understanding the impact of combat-related PTSD on families and knowing how to support your loved ones, you can contribute positively to their healing process. Reach out to organizations like the PTSD Foundation of America to help both your loved one and yourself navigate this challenging time with valuable support and resources.


  1. PTSD Foundation of America – About Us
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Helping a Family Member who has PTSD
  3. American Psychological Association – Understanding PTSD