Not only can PTSD affect Veterans on many levels, it also can have an impact on their spouses. PTSD in Veterans can affect spouses mental health, as well as, have an effect on the whole family. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (2018), male Veterans with PTSD are more likely to report marriage or relationship problems, parenting problems, and poor family functioning, than Veterans without PTSD.
While most of the research has been done on female spouses, the effects of PTSD and spouses can give the same problems to male spouses.
Veterans, according to the study, with PTSD have more marital troubles than those without PTSD. They share less of their thoughts and feelings with their spouses, as well as, their friends. Intimacy issues also arise on a greater scale than others, and are common in combat Veterans. Studies show that spouses report more worry about sexual intimacy because of this and can lead to lower satisfaction within the relationship. According to the The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS), Vietnam Veterans with PTSD got divorced twice as much, were three times more likely to divorce two or three more times, and tended to have shorter relationships.
Furthermore, PTSD can affect the mental health and life satisfaction of a Veteran's partner. Studies show that female partners of Veterans with PTSD committed more family violence than the other female partners, as well as, committed more family violence than their male Veteran partners with PTSD. Moreover, this leads to lower levels of happiness, less satisfaction in their lives, more demoralization, and about half in the study have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A lot of times, partners can have a hard time coping with their partner's symptom and feel stress because their own needs are not being met. Some spouses go through physical and emotional abuse, thus, some suggesting this is because some Veterans with PTSD can not be available emotionally for their trauma has numbed them.
What spouses can do to help themselves and their marriage is to gather information on the subject. Being familiar with PTSD and the symptoms can help spouses understand their partner on a different level. Support groups are also a good way to be able to express yourself with others that understand. This can build confidence and keep you mentally available.
We offer support, as well. If you or someone you know needs further information or support, you can call the VA Caregiver Support Line: 1-855-260-3274.
You can also send questions for advice or concerns for further support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2018). Partners of Veterans With PTSD: Common Problems. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov