Helping war veterans recover

Helping war veterans recover

10 Mar 2010

Australian war veterans and their partners or spouses are being asked to comment on how families are affected by living with a veteran who is suffering Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Man and Woman“We know that many war veterans return home from conflict severely affected by PTSD, depression and drinking problems,” said Dr Lynette Evans, a clinical psychologist and researcher at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

“These problems can last years after the initial trauma.

“However we know very little about how PTSD and related symptoms impact on family members and their relationships,” she said.

Dr Evans and Dr Sean Cowlishaw, also from La Trobe University, and Associate Professor Malcolm Hopwood, Clinical Director of the Austin Health Veterans’ Psychiatry Unit (VPU), are working together on this family survey of veterans suffering PTSD.

“Treatments are available for veterans,” said Dr Evans. “But individual treatment seems to have limited impacts on the family dynamics and distress of people experiencing these problems. We need to know more about how families are affected, and what we can do to provide support and treatment.”

Associate Professor Hopwood said, “Social support is a vital factor, determining whether or not veterans are able to experience some level of recovery from their symptoms.  

"If we can help family members better cope, then we will have also equipped them to help the veteran recover.

“The more couples who take part in our study and tell us about their experiences, the better our information will be. This will enable us to help these and other families in the future. We need to hear from couples in which one partner has combat-related PTSD.”

● All information provided to the study is confidential. To take part or find out more, please leave a message with your name and contact / postal details on 1800 013 017 (free call).  Research materials will be posted to you. No records will be kept of these contact details.

MEDIA:  For further information and interviews, please contact Dr
Lynette Evans on 03 9479 1674 or Associate Professor Malcolm Hopwood
on 03 9496 2750

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