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Ask DrFee Your Own Question
DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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Im so sorry about what the PTSD is doing/has done to my son.

This answer was rated:

I'm so sorry about what the PTSD is doing/has done to my son. He is an officer, and there is stigma in the Army that comes with that. What can I do to help him?

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

DrFee :

It's so difficult to watch a child suffer --it can feel helpless.

DrFee :

Yes, I am aware that even today, there is still stigma regarding PTSD, even though it is widely known that is a common occurrence during war.

DrFee :

He does need to get help, and the question is whether he feels OK to go through the VA or to get treatment privately.

DrFee :

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an effective, often (but not always) short term therapy for PTSD.

DrFee :

You can read more about it here: www.emdr.com

DrFee :

Essentially, it helps people to process traumatic events so that they are stored in a different part of the brain and become less disturbing to the person experiencing them.

DrFee :

Unlike some other treatment approaches, the person with PTSD does not have to "dive into" their memories and re-experience them --rather they just "go in long enough to get the job done."

DrFee :

The client does not even have to tell the therapist every single thing that goes through their mind --- nor do they have to process every single memory (some of the work generalizes to other memories).

DrFee :

I will pause here --please comment or ask additional follow up questions. I ask that you not rate my service until we have completed our interaction. I will work with you until you feel satisfied with our interaction!

Customer:

I'm trying to ask additional questions, but you have gone offline


 

Customer:

I need to know how I can help him. He lost 14 young men in the two tours 15/16 months each and feels responsible for each. He does not want to worry me and also does not think that I could possibly be able to help.


 

Customer:
DrFee :

I'm online, I just stepped out of the chat. But, I see that you are offline now! I will be online for several more hours and then again later tonight.

DrFee :

Hi --

Customer:

I'm back


 

DrFee :

I'm going to give you some ideas that I think are important for you to know --

DrFee :

But --keep in mind that you might often feel very limited and helpless.

Customer:

thank you and I do


 

DrFee :

People with PTSD often shut out those that love them to varying degrees.

DrFee :

And, it doesn't mean that he doesn't care or see your efforts, it's just that to have PTSD sometimes feels so isolating and it's hard to even know what one want/needs, let alone accept help from a family member

Customer:

Is it best to just keep my mouth shut and let him "go it alone"


 

DrFee :

So the first thing you can do is gain as much knowledge about PTSD that you can --NOT to tell him, but so that you are aware and that he can see that you are trying to understand on your own --without asking him too many questions.

DrFee :

The question you just asked --that varies --from person to person

DrFee :

I would say you want to make statements like, "I'd like to be here for you, but I just don't know how. There's a lot I want to say (if that's true), but I'm not sure it will be helpful. If you can let me know what you need from me, I'll do my best to give that to you."

Customer:

okay I appreciate your info..........I will do research on the rapid eye............and encourage him to seek outside help. I feel the Army drops the boat alittle. I love those statements and I will use them. Again thank you


 

DrFee :

Let me give you a little more before you go ---

Customer:

sure


 

DrFee :

I would say work on ways to be "available" but not "pushy" -- It could be simple invitations to lunch, or cards, or just non-intrusive things that let him know you love him and you're thinking about him.

DrFee :

And remember, he probably doesn't understand everything that he's experiencing --so he's not going to seem like he's himself (I'm sure you've seen this already) --so I'd say grace and acceptance are in order, and try not to take things personally --like if he snaps at you or does something else out of character.

DrFee :

The exception to this is if something dangerous is happening of course ---

Customer:

can this be helped/cured with the right help


 

DrFee :

Yes! As severe and life-disrupting as PTSD is, it is very treatable. There are certain factors that make it more difficult, one being if there is a many year history of trauma.

DrFee :

Or --if he has other problems co-occurring --like if he had depression prior to the PTSD, etc.

DrFee :

One danger is substance abuse --either prior or if he starts to abuse substances now.

Customer:

no the depression has come with the deployments


 

Customer:

he has chosen risky life style changes that are out of character


 

DrFee :

If his mental health and functioning prior to the deployments was good, then that's a positive sign for a better outcome to be more easily obtained.

DrFee :

Yes, making those choices, unfortunately, is a normal reaction to PTSD

Customer:

again thank you...............I just want him at peace


 

DrFee :

I am sure ---it's hardest to watch a child suffer, even more than ourselves, I think. Do you feel like you have enough information for now?

Customer:

yes again I appreciate the support


 

DrFee :

You are welcome. If it seems appropriate, please tell him about this site. He might feel comfortable chatting anonymously.

Customer:

great idea................


 

Customer:
DrFee and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Dear Kim,

I can't tell if I already sent you a thank you note --so please excuse me if I have!

Thank you for the bonus and "excellent" rating, I do appreciate both!

Take good care, and I hope that your son gets some good help and recovers quickly. In the meanwhile I hope being patient and peaceful isn't too difficult for you!

Regards,

Dr. Fee

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