Dear Annie: My father, my brothers and I all served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Only my father and I deployed to combat areas.
Dad retired five years ago and is showing drastic symptoms of PTSD. He is stockpiling food and medical supplies and keeps trying to get my wife and me to “prepare” for when “it all hits the fan.” He spends hours a day obsessively watching the news and getting angry at the television. Our children used to spend time unsupervised with my parents, but that stopped when I found a loaded handgun in his bathroom cabinet.
My mother has broached the topic of therapy, and I’ve offered to go with him, as I’ve been wrestling with some mild PTSD issues myself. But my brothers intercede every time and say Dad’s fine and it’s no big deal, and they convince him not to go. I believe this is dangerous. I’ve been unable to find any home counseling services, and even our pastor says this is out of his realm of expertise. What other options are out there? – New York Son
Dear Son: You may have better luck getting your father to accept help if you approach this as a possible medical problem, rather than a psychiatric issue. We also suggest you ask him to join you for an exercise or yoga class, which can be useful for some PTSD sufferers. Also, please contact the VA’s National Center for PTSD ( ptsd.va.gov) or Military One Source ( militaryonesource.mil) at 1 (800) 342-9647, and ask to speak to a counselor or get a referral to local military treatment facilities.