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Husband Having Flashbacks

Jim Daly on

Q: My husband recently retired from the military, and he's having disturbing flashbacks from combat duty. I've heard enough about post-traumatic stress disorder to be concerned. How can our family best support him?

Jim: Combat veterans have always been susceptible to PTSD, but it seems to be an increasingly frequent problem for today's servicemembers. It's easy to understand why many vets find it difficult to share their emotional pain -- in many ways they've been to the brink of hell and back, and they don't want to upset their families and friends by describing those experiences. They also usually assume that only those who have experienced combat can possibly understand the significance of their internal struggles. So, they stuff their feelings deep inside.

In many cases, the pain of any physical injuries a combat veteran may have sustained in the line of duty is far outweighed by the intensity of the emotional suffering they endure. Not to mention that psychological pain often manifests through physical or psychosomatic symptoms. Among other things, your husband's flashbacks reflect the very real connection that exists between body and mind.

For all these reasons, I would strongly suggest that your husband make an appointment to discuss his situation and condition with a qualified physician as soon as possible (if he hasn't already done so). It's possible that at least some of the issues he's dealing with can be mitigated through careful medication.

I'd also recommend that your entire family seek out the services of a licensed counselor. It's critical that you all walk through this experience together. Focus on the Family's Counseling Department can provide you with a free consultation and a list of qualified therapists practicing in your area; call 855-771-HELP (4357).

I'm grateful to your husband -- and you -- for serving, and I wish you both all the best.


Q: My child is entering the preteen years. I know I'm supposed to be doing things to help, but I'm not sure where to start. Do you have any advice?

Dr. Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting & Youth: "Just wait till you have a teenager!" I heard those words a lot when my kids were still young. My wife and I quickly discovered that while there are difficulties in every stage of parenting, the teenage years are full of new opportunities and new challenges.

Preteens and teens have many questions, but they don't always know how to ask about what's troubling them. That's why it's so important to provide trust, stability and direction as they enter this new stage of life. Here are some pointers for conversations with your preteen son or daughter.

What to Expect:


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