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A Friend Who Is A Vet Is Experiencing PTSD And I Would Like Some Advice

by Anonymous

Hi, I have a friend who I believe is experiencing PTSD. He is a former Marine and a veteran of Iraq and (most recently) Afghanistan.

I don't know too many details about what he experienced but I know that his experience in Afghanistan was bad. He acts like a different person from the nice guy my friends and I remember.

Sometimes I'll find him staring at me with a strange expression on his face that really bothers me. He has an alcohol problem and has been known to act violently towards friends when drinking.

One of our friends lives with him and has become afraid of him. I am extremely concerned about him (and our friend who lives with him) and don't know what to do. I would definitely appreciate some advice.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I think it says a lot about you that you care about your friend so much. It's great that you want to help him.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do. Healing and recovery for someone with PTSD and alcohol abuse issues has to come from their own motivation to do something positive for themselves. Your friend is probably self-medicating with alcohol, and he might feel like that is working, even though it's really only adding a new problem.

What you can do is to always choose to see the best in him, and your friend who lives with him. Choose to believe that they will both make the best decisions for themselves.

You can offer input and suggestions to your friend with PTSD if you like, but nothing is going to work for him until he decides he wants help and goes for it himself.

I wish I had more to offer. You might suggest that he read my PTSD web page, and then let it go. If you believe in prayer, you can also pray for him.

Meanwhile, take really good care of yourself. Do not let this interfere with your well being. You will have more to offer your friends if you are healthy and happy.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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