Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects all ages. It’s not something people should feel they have to hide. That’s the goal of June’s PTSD Awareness Month. How much do you know about PTSD? Could your dad have PTSD and need help managing it?
Signs of PTSD
PTSD sometimes develops after traumatic events. For example, soldiers may develop PTSD after being in the war. Someone in a serious car accident may develop PTSD and find it hard to drive, get into a car, or travel on the road where the crash occurred. Victims of crime often have PTSD.
When PTSD happens, the anxiety can be incredibly disruptive. Certain events or circumstances may trigger flashbacks. For instance, fireworks can set off panic attacks in soldiers. Screeching brakes can cause panic in a person in a car accident. Victims of a crime may become panicked when someone that looks like their attacker enters a store they’re in.
The symptoms of PTSD vary, but they usually include:
- Emotional detachment
- Intrusive images and thoughts
- Panic attacks
If the symptoms become excessive, your dad may not want to leave his bed or house. He may struggle to get enough sleep because nightmares occur frequently. He may rely on alcohol or certain foods in an attempt to feel better. He may push others away.
How Do You Help Him?
What do you do when you believe PTSD is impacting your dad’s daily routines and relationships? He’s pushing you away, and you want to help him before he gets worse. If you push him, he may withdraw more, so you need to approach it carefully. Talk to a specialist about the best way to approach it.
Make sure your dad knows that medications aren’t always the only solution. If he’s refusing to get help because he doesn’t want to take antidepressants or other medications used to treat PTSD, there are other options. Talk to him about therapy.
Look into psychiatric service dogs. A service dog helps by interrupting your dad’s anxiety attack to help him redirect and focus on the dog’s comfort. If your dad wants a PTSD dog, organizations like America’s Vet Dogs provide free dogs and training to qualifying applicants.
PTSD can be disabling. If your dad’s PTSD keeps him from going out, driving to stores, or leaving his house, arrange senior care services to make sure he has companions stopping by. Senior care aides can make sure he takes medications, schedules and keeps appointments with his doctors, and attends therapy sessions. Call a senior care agency to find out prices.