PTSD and Coparenting

PTSD in the Military - Kara Moffett & Jill Bowers

What is PTSD? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental illness that an individual may develop after a traumatic event. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates about 11-21% of soldiers returning from Operation Freedom will experience PTSD a year. Research surrounding soldiers returning from Operation Freedom also shows that these soldiers are experiencing a high level of PTSD than soldiers in previous wars or PTSD in the general population (Monson, Schnurr, Resick, Friedman, Y[JRB1] oung & Stevens, 2006).

How can PTDS be managed? Once diagnosed there are two different types of treatments for dealing with PTDS. While some individuals may completely heal from their PTDS many others will use treatments to learn how to cope with this mental illness. The two types of therapy are:

· Cognitive Processing therapy – or CPT is done in 12 sessions and is usually done in a group session. (Monson, 2006) These sessions have the individuals think about the traumatic event and talk about the different feelings, thoughts and emotions associated with the event. (Monson, 2006) This type of therapy may not heal one from PTDS but help them cope with everyday life for effectively.

· Prolonged exposure – is repeatedly talking about the traumatic event until the memories no longer upset the individual or bring the same upsetting, anxious feelings.

How does PTSC impact parenting and coparenting?

A parent who has adjusted to a military culture may have a difficult time readjusting to life with children running around, laughing and being loud. This behavior can be unpredictable for a returning service member and they may try to take control of the situation and control the running and loud behaviors. (Conard, 2017) These parent also sometimes may tend to not show emotion or be warm and caring toward their children which may lead to emotional issues in the child. (Conard, 2017 )

PTDS, if left untreated can lead a parent to act out in violent ways. This violence may be directed at the child or the child’s other parent. Seeing this violence may lead the child to then develop PTDS themselves from witnessing these events. (Vetreans )

Signs to look for if you believe your coparent may have PTSD:

· Always seem to feel on edge

· Have trouble sleeping or have nightmares

· Avoid things you may have previously enjoyed/ things that remind you of traumatic event

· Have negative thought or feelings. This could be towards family members or negative views about the world in general.

· Startled by loud noises

· Always in the lookout for danger. This may always having back to the wall and constantly searching for the exit.

What resources are there for families where a member is struggling with PTSD?

· Local VA hospital

· Va TeleMental Health- connects you to a mental health professional over the phone or computer

· 1-800-WAR-VETS- Connects you to a combat vet that you can talk to and can help you with resources

· Local Family Doctor- If you do not wish to go through the VA your normal family doctor should be able to provide additional resources or referrals to a mental health specialst



Conard, P. L. (2017). Unnoticed Heroes Caring for Visible and Invisible Wounds of the Nation’s Military Heroes. MEDSURG Nursing, 26(6), 365–385. Retrieved from https://search- site=ehost-live

Monson, C. M., Schnurr, P. P., Resick, P. A., Friedman, M. J., Young-Xu, Y., & Stevens, S. P. (2006). Cognitive processing therapy for veterans with military-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 898–907.

[JRB1]Same comment with superscripts throughout article.

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