The impact of PTSD on relationships

Some of the symptoms of PTSD affect relationships.

Some aspects of PTSD, like the distressing memories, hyperarousal (the feeling of being wound up all the time) and the tendency to avoid things, can be especially problematic for families. Hyperarousal can contribute to aggression and domestic violence. Avoidance can get in the way of intimacy between a veteran and their partner, and tends to reduce relationship satisfaction. Partners can also experience anxiety, depression, social isolation and feelings of hopelessness as a result of their partner’s trauma and subsequent mental illness. Partners of veterans with PTSD often talk about ‘walking on eggshells’ around their partner and being afraid of their symptoms.

Getting help

Seek help if you or someone you know might have PTSD. Start by visiting a GP, as they can refer to specialists (psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health social worker) and prescribe medication.

If you have served one day in the ADF, you are eligible for:

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) supports defence members, ex-serving members, veterans and their families with counselling for individuals and group-based programs. Call Open Arms on 1800 011 046.