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Handling PTSD During the Holidays

Veteran contemplating at a table.

According to psychologist Michael Terman, as many as 60 million Americans suffer winter doldrums. Consequently, they often don't find much to celebrate during the holiday season. Add PTSD to the mix – 11-20% of Veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) have PTSD in a given year – and the "season to be jolly" can be downright challenging.

Fortunately, VA's National Center for PTSD offers online resources for identifying the condition and how to get help for yourself, a friend or a family member. And the Department of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury have put together some low-tech suggestions and high-tech apps that can help you or a loved one better manage holiday stress.

Of course, sometimes it helps to talk with a professional. And the responders and staff at the Veterans Crisis Line at the Department of Veterans Affairs make sure that they are accessible at all times, including the holiday season. The recent HBO film about the VA crisis line features a sequence on Christmas Eve. The responders understand that PTSD and depression don't take a holiday. If anything, they can become more intense at those times of year when people are expected to "make merry."

Veterans and their loved ones can receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

  • Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
  • Chat online
  • Or send a text message to 838255

For more information, visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.

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