Sleep and Health

Below is a list of links to resources on sleep health for seniors/aging adults.

Sleep and PTSD: Common Sleep Problems Veterans and other PTSD Sufferers Face.

Sleep and Anxiety: Learn how poor sleep undermines your mental health and how your mental health can ruin your sleep.

Sleep and Aging:Understand common sleep problems seniors face and how to treat them.

Sleep and Grief:Learn why getting quality sleep is an important step in the grieving process and read tips for sleeping better during difficult times

Making a Bedroom Accessible for Disabilities: Easy access to a good night’s sleep is a right everyone should have. Learn how to modify a bedroom to be disability-friendly.

Substance Abuse Resources for Veterans


Are you a veteran struggling with a substance misuse or co-occurring disorder (PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.)? Are you a friend or other loved one of a veteran, and you want to learn more about substance use and PTSD among veterans or the ways you can help them? Information on rehab centers and VA options can be found at


Since 2018, Rehab Spot has served as a critical source of information on addiction and recovery for those who are struggling with substance abuse disorders and co-morbid mental health conditions. Rehab Spot is owned by Recovery Worldwide, a national informational marketing umbrella for several addiction recovery-related properties. Rehab Spot works with a nationally recognized drug and alcohol treatment facility that provides treatment consultation and counseling, placement and enrollment into a treatment program, and payment/insurance information.

addiction_center_logoPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction

People suffering from PTSD often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, which can lead to addiction.


Free Acupuncture Care for Veterans

Veterans Clinic

Vet Wife NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard offers a Veterans Clinic that specializes in treating a wide variety of injuries and disorders that affect combat veterans, including: post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain.

They provide natural and drug-free health options, and can also co-manage a veteran’s treatment plan with their current physician.

Free Acupuncture Care for Veterans
The Veterans Clinic at the NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard offers:

  • Traditional acupuncture
  • Moxibustion – the therapeutic application of heat to acupuncture points and
  • Tui Na – oriental medical massage along acupuncture meridians
  • China Gel – an herbal topical pain reliever

These therapies are excellent for relieving symptoms of chronic pain and PTSD, and a wide variety of other health conditions.

Discounted Services Offered

A discounted rate of 20% will be offered to veterans and/or spouses for the following non-PTSD services:

  • Physical examinations, including medical history
  • Physical therapeutic modalities
  • Rehabilitation, including therapeutic exercise prescriptions
  • Chiropractic manipulative therapeutics
  • Kinesio Taping®
  • Laboratory services
  • Radiology (X-ray) services, including ultrasonography
  • Dispensary items (vitamins, botanicals, herbs, etc.)
  • Orthotics
  • Orthopedic supports or appliances
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy

Discounts for Spouses of Veterans
Acupuncture, including needling, moxibustion and Tui Na, along with all other clinic services mentioned above are discounted 20% for spouses of veterans.

Schedule Your Appointment
Call 630-629-9664 to schedule your appointment at the NUHS Whole Health Center, located at 200 E. Roosevelt Rd., Lombard, IL 60148.

Veterans Services at National University’s Whole Health Center in Lombard are sponsored in part by a generous contribution from China-Gel, Inc.

A Female Veteran With PTSD – PTSD Impact on Being a Parent

Original Article found at:

PTSD Makes It Impossible for Me to Be a Mother

After combat in Iraq, Melissa Thurber fights a battle at home.

Each night, Melissa Thurber turns on a window air conditioner and the television in her bedroom, desperately hoping to block out the sounds of training missions from Hurlburt Field, an Air Force installation, near her home. C-130 jets roar over her neighborhood; training ordinance explodes on the range 10 miles away. The Florida-based photographer clutches her Chihuahua while her two bigger dogs lay nearby. Sometimes, she imagines she can smell the dust and smoke — and it snaps her back to Baghdad.

“Loud noises trigger my PTSD,” explains Thurber, who served as a medic on an 18-month Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment in 2003. “If I hear anything, then I know I’ll have nightmares that night. It can even be as simple as walking outside and the light reminding me of Iraq. I remember things very vividly.”

Those memories have haunted her for a decade. Over time, Thurber, one of the 20% of female veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, has figured out her other triggers: new situations, loneliness, people yelling at her, and certain smells. Scenes swim before her eyes, from fellow soldiers lost in the flash of a mortar attack to holding others’ hands while they died. She blacks out, goes into an uncontrollable rage, or is overwhelmed by crippling terror and depression. The disorder has destroyed her five-year marriage, spurred her to attempt suicide, and has her considering placing her daughter Delanie, 13, and son Blake, 7, in her family’s care.

She’s never violently lashed out at her kids, but Thurber admits that her lack of awareness during episodes makes her keep her distance. “I’ve never felt like a good mother,” she says through tears. “I just can’t connect with my children, as much as I’d love to. Every time I look at them, I always think very bad s*** is going to happen to them.”

The Call of Duty

Life wasn’t always this way. Thurber, an easygoing, artistic teen, joined the Army in 1998 before her senior year of high school in Massachusetts. After graduation, she worked as a medic with an aviation unit.

When she was called for active duty, Thurber was already raising an 18 month-old daughter. She’d started the process of trying to leave the Army — not because she didn’t want to be in the military but so she could live in Florida, near her parents. As a single mother, she had the option to defer her deployment, but Thurber felt that if she was going to ship out eventually, leaving sooner would be easier. “My daughter was so young at the time, I thought it was better to leave her with my parents when she’s not going to remember me being gone.” She shipped out in December 2003 — the same month Saddam Hussein was captured.

Melissa Thurber in Iraq

 Melissa Thurber during her deployment in Iraq.
Courtesy of Melissa Thurber

Combat in Iraq

Though initially bound for an aviation unit clinic, Thurber was reassigned twice and ended up in Baghdad on a “mobile collection team” (MCT). As part of the Iraq Survey Group, MCTs were tasked with finding weapons of mass destruction and serving as security detail, often in the heart of danger. One of them, MCT-9 was comprised of elite soldiers including the British Royal Marines, Army Rangers, and Navy Seals, and they needed medics, so Thurber was assigned to support the unit. “We went outside the wire almost every single day,” she recalls. “We saw combat. Our friends died in front of us.”

In 2004 Baghdad, the insurgency was raging. Car bombings were frequent; U.S. military and civilians were targets of kidnappings and beheadings. Thurber often went on missions in uniform and in civilian disguises to the Green Zone, Baghdad’s central area — without the protection of armored vehicles.

Thurber also served rotations with the 31st Combat Support Hospital’s casualty team. “I remember sitting with a soldier who’d been brought in and being the one to shut the machine off,” she says. “Then having to put him into a body bag, bring him to the morgue, and move on to the next one. You don’t have time to process what’s going on.”

Mortar attacks at the base were a common occurrence. “One of my greatest fears was having to go and use the Porta-John at the end of our area. What if a shell came then and I died going to the bathroom?” she says. “You were always thinking, Am I coming home today? Am I going to be able to call my daughter tonight?

Finally, after 18 months, Thurber returned home in the spring of 2005.

Back to a New Reality

The adjustment — to parenting and civilian life — was daunting. After a few months living with her parents, Thurber and her daughter, then 3, moved into their own Florida apartment. “That’s when my life changed.”

She started having insomnia and nightmares — both common among PTSD sufferers — and a prescription sleep-aid from her doctor didn’t help. Thurber would stay awake all night and finally collapse from exhaustion around 6 a.m., right when her toddler would wake.

“I would put breakfast foods low in the pantry and taught her how to get them herself,” Thurber says regretfully. “I’d be sleeping and not watching my kid. Or if I was awake, I’d be sitting there not able to participate or feel joy.”

Thurber wasn’t officially diagnosed by Veterans’ Health Administration doctors until 2008, though she says she took her concerns to them within months of returning home. Out of options, she sent Delanie back to live with her grandparents while she dealt with what she was beginning to think might be PTSD. “I never wanted to abandon my daughter, but I was trying to learn how to live with something that I didn’t understand.”

Soon after, she met her husband. He provided safety and a boost to her depression, she says. Sleep finally came. On rare bad days, he helped with Delanie, who had returned to live with them again. Thurber says he never really acknowledged her PTSD, though, even when she would violently punch or kick her new husband in her sleep.

Melissa Thurber with Blake, left, and Delanie.
Melissa Thurber with Blake, left, and Delanie.
Courtesy of Melissa Thurber

Dark Days Return

Life was relatively stable for two years. But when she went off medication for her second pregnancy and then had a series of shoulder surgeries, her routine was disrupted  — and the uncontrollable anger surged back with a vengeance. “Many times, I would get outraged and black out,” Thurber says. “Once, I broke my hand punching a metal box and don’t remember it.”

Between the PTSD and the shoulder pain, she took a litany of medications: Trazodone, Seroquel, Clonipin, Prozac, and Xanax, as well as Lortab 10 (a kind of hydrocodone) and Tramadol. “I have no idea how I was able to walk around and function,” she says. “I was driving my kids to school and activities, but I don’t remember half of it.”

During that period, Thurber had a months-long affair. She says it began from a lack of control in the haze of her medication, though she admits she also enjoyed getting attention from someone during a time when her husband was gone frequently for work. But Thurber knew she was spinning out of control: “By the end,” she says, “I was practically begging my husband to find out. I did everything in my power to make him suspicious — because I felt like I was going off the deep end.”

The day after he learned the truth in January 2010, they were arguing in the living room when her latest round of medication arrived at the door. As she signed for it, Thurber decided she’d had enough — that she was tired of combatting her disorder and trying to rebuild her life. “I thought, F*** this,” she recalls. She grabbed the Seroquel, an antipsychotic, and downed the entire bottle. (Suicide attempts are also prevalent among female veterans with PTSD — and 22 American military veterans commit suicide each day.) Her husband called 911. After being stabilized in the hospital, she spent three days in a mental health facility.

Getting back on her feet — and off her medication — became even more complicated as her marriage grew increasingly volatile. Her husband, who she says still didn’t really believe in her PTSD, was extremely angry with her. “The whole time instead of thinking, This is his problem,” she says, “I felt like I messed up and deserved what was happening.”

One day, the bottom dropped out. Thurber worked as a technician at a dialysis clinic and had become friends with a patient, a woman in her early 20s. As Thurber pushed her out after a session, she coded in her wheelchair. “There was nothing we could do. We couldn’t save her.”

It was horrifyingly similar to her experiences in Iraq. Thurber stayed in bed for a week, not even calling her boss to explain her absence. “I didn’t move, do anything. Nobody really understood.”

Finding Focus

Thurber, who’d studied photography in high school, found an outlet in pursuing a new career. “I had an escape,” she says. “I didn’t always have to be at home, dwelling on this stuff. I could go out, feel good, and have fun. For a while it was great.”

But after her husband lost his job, went back to school and switched jobs, Thurber became the sole caregiver for the kids. “I’ve never considered myself to be a good mom, but I would do everything by myself that I can: Give them their baths, feed them, cuddle with them and watch a movie, put them to bed,” she says. The pressures on her mounted.

Her marriage continued to struggle. They separated in June 2014 but reunited that fall. While her husband was decorating the house with Christmas lights after Thanksgiving, Thurber just snapped. “I don’t know what triggered it, but I was irate when he came inside,” she says, explaining she hadn’t refilled her prescription for six days.

During the screaming match that ensued, she ran to the bathroom. He followed, blocking her in. The fight escalated. She recalls punching him in the back to get him to move. Then he called the police and had her arrested in front of her children. “It was mortifying.”

Thurber stayed in jail for three days because her family refused to pick her up. Her husband was also awarded a temporary restraining order. Fortunately, she says, the court looked at her PTSD and decided she needed help, not prison. She’s been attending court-ordered counseling ever since.

“I feel like I’ve never been given the opportunity to show that I am a good person,” she says, “because this monster that I can’t control likes to come out a lot.”

Delanie and Blake Thurber and one of their dogs.

 Delanie and Blake Thurber and one of their dogs.
Courtesy of Melissa Thurber

Motherhood with Mental Illness

For now, her son lives with his father. And she believes living elsewhere might be a better choice for her daughter, too. “I want to be a mom. I want to be their mom,” she says. “But I’m not good at it, even though I love them and I try.”

“PTSD is a hole that I can’t get out of,” Thurber says, adding that years of medication, counseling programs and other treatments haven’t stopped her anger or panic attacks. Plus, some prescriptions make her unable to drive to activities like school and nightly soccer practice. “I’d rather not be around my kids if they can be with somebody who can do more for them than I can,” she says. “That might be best because I don’t have full control over it. I want to, but I don’t.”

Her children know she has the disorder, but don’t really understand why it affects her relationship with them. “They don’t get why I won’t take them to the water park or why if we go to the 4th of July Fireworks, I have to park away from everybody else and hold my little dog,” she says. “If I’m in my dark bedroom sitting by myself, they know Mom is done for the day and to leave me alone. They shouldn’t have to deal with that.”

Still, she hopes to eventually find herself on the other side — and able to be a healthy parent to both her children. In addition to counseling and medication, she leans on a close group of former soldiers, many of whom also have PTSD. She’s working on a book of photographs and interviews with other veterans with the disorder. And she’s planning on moving away from the base.

“I have good days and bad days,” Thurber says. “I wish people understood PTSD more: We didn’t sign up for it, we signed up to serve our country. And while it’s not something I’ll ever be able to ‘cure,’ I desperately want to be able to live with it without fearing what I might do.”

Melissa Thurber with her children Blake (left) and Delanie.

 Courtesy of Melissa Thurber

About 8% of the U.S. population will have PTSD at some point in their lives (around 8 million adults during a given year). For veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, those numbers climb to about 20%. Symptoms of PTSD for anyone who has experienced a trauma include nightmares and flashbacks to trauma, anger, jumpiness, depression, and alcohol or substance abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms that last for three months or more, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the National Alliance on Mental Illness for help.


Helping Veterans Obtain VA Benefits Saves Local Healthcare Budget Dollars

By Ray Parrish

Many veterans use non-VA healthcare facilities because VA regulations place bureaucratic hurdles in front of the veterans who are least able to overcome them and the people that these veterans go to for help either don’t know how or simply refuse to serve them because of their own prejudice.

There’s an ever-growing population of veterans, from ALL eras, with severe, untreated mental disabilities, especially PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). So severe, in fact, that the most out-of-control veterans commit some kind of misconduct while still in uniform and they end up with an “other than Honorable” military discharge. The VA has rules that allow them to grant benefits to these vets, but veterans are told the opposite by everyone they go to for help, until they come to our office. The VA denies the claims in the beginning and many veterans don’t know that they need to appeal and ask for a “character of service determination.” They can then win full benefits with an appeal if it includes a properly worded psychological evaluation explaining that the veteran was insane at the time of the misconduct. It doesn’t have to be a PTSD diagnosis and it doesn’t have to have caused the misconduct. However, if either is the case, this is an opportunity to make those claims.

Since disciplinary charges for misconduct pre-empt the medical disability retirement process, many vets end up with these “bad” discharges even after being recommended for military medical retirement for PTSD or another mental disability. The veteran may simply have given up on the military’s inadequate, inappropriate or nonexistent treatment and gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave). Misconduct involving drugs, alcohol or violence are also common. In addition, many veterans with PTSD are discharged for a “personality disorder” which the VA says is non-service connected. Once again a properly worded psychological evaluation can correct the diagnosis and the veteran can then get full VA benefits. It should be noted that many of these veterans have chronic medical conditions or illnesses that the VA will not treat until a favorable “character of service” determination is made.

We have “VA Claims Agents” accredited by the VA to represent veterans and their families in VA disability claims. They have the patience to deal with this population of veterans, the experience to write successful appeals and experience working with healthcare professionals in this specialized area. No other veterans group has a therapist on staff. This therapist, Hans Buwalda, does individual, couple, and group counseling for veterans and their loved ones. She also writes these psychological evaluations and trains volunteer mental health professionals, mainly from The Soldiers Project, which has 40,000 volunteers nationwide.

Our objective is to get these disabled veterans the treatment and housing that they so desperately need. For this to happen we need to make them eligible for benefits from the VA. Because the VA recognizes its limitations, they are funding non-VA, community-based service providers for healthcare, housing, job training and, most importantly, veteran-run peer-counseling. The actual number of such veterans and the cost savings to state, county and city budgets is a simple research task. These results may indicate that it would be cost effective for state and local healthcare providers to employ people in their facilities who can help these veterans win their claims for federal benefits.

Ray Parrish is the Benefits Director at VVAW’s Military and Veterans Counseling Service.

When a Child’s Parent Has PTSD

Jennifer L. Price, PhD


Researchers have examined the impact of Veterans’ PTSD symptoms on family relationships, and on children of Veterans in particular. Understanding how these symptoms affect relationships can help families and children of Veterans cope with difficulties, should they arise. Although much of the research described here has been conducted with children of Vietnam Veterans, findings from this body of research may generalize to children of Veterans from other eras as well as non-Veterans with PTSD.

How might a Veteran’s PTSD symptoms affect his or her children?

Re-experiencing symptoms

Individuals who have PTSD often “re-experience”‘ traumatic events through vivid daytime memories or dreams. Re-experiencing can occur suddenly and without intention, and it is typically accompanied by intense emotions, such as grief, guilt, fear, or anger. Sometimes these intrusions can be so strong or vivid that the individual believes the trauma is reoccurring.

These symptoms can be frightening not only for the individual experiencing them but also for children who witness them. Children may not understand what is happening or why, and they may start to worry about their parent’s well-being. Children may also worry that their parent cannot properly care for them.

Avoidance and numbing symptoms

Because the re-experiencing symptoms characteristic of PTSD are so uncomfortable, people who have been traumatized tend to try to avoid thinking about the traumatic event. They may also attempt to avoid places and experiences that could trigger upsetting memories. As a result, individuals with PTSD may not want to do things or go places, such as to the store, to the movies, or out to dinner. Children may feel that their parent does not care about them when the reality is that the parent is avoiding places that are just too frightening. In addition to these active avoidance strategies, traumatized individuals often struggle with experiencing positive emotions and may feel “cut off” from other people, including family members.

These avoidance and numbing symptoms can have a direct impact on children. For example, when a parent with PTSD withdraws from family members and has trouble feeling positive emotions, children can inaccurately interpret this as the parent not being interested in them or loving them, even though the parent may try to indicate otherwise.

Hyperarousal symptoms

Individuals with PTSD tend to have a high level of anxiety and arousal, which shows up as difficulty sleeping, impaired concentration, and being easily startled. They tend to have a high level of irritability and may experience an exaggerated concern for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones. Parents with PTSD can therefore tend to be overprotective. Irritability and low frustration tolerance can make a parent seem hostile or distant, again making children question the parent’s love for them. This perception is simply a misunderstanding of the reasons behind the symptoms.

How do children respond?

A parent’s PTSD symptoms can be directly linked to their child’s responses. Children can respond in certain ways:

  • The “over-identified” child might feel and behave just like their parent as a way of trying to connect with the parent. Such a child might show many of the same symptoms as the parent with PTSD.
  • The “rescuer” child takes on the adult role to fill in for the parent with PTSD. The child acts too grown-up for his or her age.
  • The “emotionally uninvolved” child gets little emotional help. This results in problems at school, depression, anxiety (worry, fear), and relationship problems later in life.

What are some problems children of Veterans with PTSD might experience?

Social and behavioral problems

Research in Vietnam Veteran’s families has revealed that children of Veterans with PTSD are at higher risk for behavioral, academic, and interpersonal problems. Their parents tend to view them as more depressed, anxious, aggressive, hyperactive, and delinquent compared to children of non-combat Vietnam era Veterans who do not have PTSD. In addition, the children are perceived as having difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships. Chaotic family experiences can make it difficult to establish positive attachments to parents, which can make it difficult for children to create healthy relationships outside the family. There is also research showing that children may have particular behavioral disturbances if their parent Veteran participated in abusive violence (i.e., atrocities) during combat service (5).

Some research has found that PTSD is related to an increased likelihood of violence in the home. It is important to note, however, that the majority of Veterans have violence-free homes and that most of this research is correlational. For example, one study found more violence in families of Vietnam Veterans with PTSD than in families of Veterans without PTSD, including increased violent behavior of the child (1). Several studies have examined the relationship between fathers’ combat-related PTSD and violent behaviors and their children’s functioning (2, 3, 4).

Emotional problems and secondary traumatization

Although not common, children may start to experience the parent’s PTSD symptoms (e.g., start having nightmares about the parent’s trauma) or have PTSD symptoms related to witnessing their parent’s symptoms (e.g., having difficulty concentrating at school because they’re thinking about the parent’s difficulties). Some researchers describe the impact that a parent’s PTSD symptoms have on a child as secondary traumatization (2). It is also possible that children develop PTSD symptoms of their own, especially if there is trauma or violence in the home. Research on Vietnam era Veterans found that children of Veterans with PTSD are at higher risk for being depressed and anxious than non-combat Veterans’ children. Having a supportive parent or caregiver can offset these problems and enhance recovery in children with PTSD or other emotional concerns.

Problems may continue into adolescence

Adolescent children of Veterans with PTSD may be similarly affected by their parent’s symptoms. Although the research cannot point to cause and effect, compared to adolescents whose fathers were not Veterans, adolescents whose fathers served in combat in Vietnam showed poorer attitudes toward school, more negative attitudes toward their fathers, lower scores on creativity and higher levels of depression and anxiety (6). In spite of these differences, the two groups of adolescents were actually quite similar on a range of other measures of social and personality adjustment.

Can children get PTSD from a parent?

Although not common, it is possible for children to display symptoms of PTSD because they are upset by their parent’s symptoms (secondary traumatization). Some researchers have investigated the notion that trauma and the symptoms associated with it can be passed from one generation to the next. Researchers describe this phenomenon as intergenerational transmission of trauma. Much research has been conducted with victims of the Holocaust and their families (see Kellerman (7) for review), and some studies have expanded on these ideas to include families of combat Veterans with PTSD.

Ancharoff, Munroe, and Fisher (8) described several ways to understand the mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of trauma. These mechanisms are silence, overdisclosure, identification, and reenactment.

  • When a family silences a child, or teaches him/her to avoid discussions of events, situations, thoughts, or emotions, the child’s anxiety tends to increase. He or she may start to worry about provoking the parent’s symptoms. Without understanding the reasons for their parent’s symptoms, children may create their own ideas about what the parent experienced, which can be even more horrifying than what actually occurred.
  • Overdisclosure can be just as problematic. When children are exposed to graphic details about their parent’s traumatic experiences, they can start to experience their own set of PTSD symptoms in response to the images generated.
  • Similarly, children who live with a traumatized parent may start to identify with the parent such that they begin to share in his or her symptoms as a way to connect with the parent.
  • Children may also be pulled to reenact some aspect of the traumatic experience because the traumatized parent has difficulty separating past experiences from present.

What should a parent do?

Parents can help children by understanding how specific symptoms of PTSD affect relationships and by using the resources identified below. Preventive interventions can be helpful and include explaining to family members the possible impact of intergenerational transmission of trauma before it happens. Education about the potential impact on children can also be a useful response when a child is already being affected by his or her parent’s trauma history.

An excellent first step in helping children cope with a parent’s PTSD is to explain the reasons for the traumatized parent’s difficulties, without burdening the child with graphic details. It is important to help children see that the symptoms are not related to them; children need to know they are not to blame. How much a parent says should be influenced by the child’s age and maturity level. Some parents may prefer to have help with what they say to their children, and assistance through therapy or written materials can be helpful.

In addition to this basic first step, there are multiple treatment options available for affected families. Treatment can include individual treatment for the Veteran, as symptom improvement for the person suffering from PTSD would also benefit the family. Family therapy can support the parent who is struggling with symptoms and teach family members how to get their own needs met. Family therapy is typically more effective if the Veteran with PTSD has first received some type of trauma therapy so that he or she is better able to focus on helping the children during family sessions (9).

Children may benefit from individual therapy as well, with variations based on the child’s age (e.g., play therapy for younger children, talk therapy for older children and adolescents). Each family is unique, and decisions about what kind of treatment to seek, if treatment is needed, can be complicated. The most important thing is to help each member of the family, including the children, have a voice in expressing what he or she needs.

VA has taken note of the research showing the challenges that families can face when dealing with PTSD, as well as the importance of family in supporting the Veteran’s recovery from PTSD. The Caregivers Act was enacted in 2010 and mandated VA to document the effects on family members and assess caregiver needs and resources. VA PTSD programs and Vet Centers across the country are beginning to offer group, couples, and individual programs for families of Veterans.


  1. Jordan, B. K., Marmar, C. B., Fairbank, J. A., Schlenger, W. E., Kulka, R. A., Hough, R. L., et al. (1992). Problems in families of male Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 916-926.
  2. Cosgrove, L., Brady, M. E., & Peck, P. (1995). PTSD and the family: Secondary traumatization. In D. K. Rhoades, M. R. Leaveck, & J. C. Hudson (Eds.), The legacy of Vietnam veterans and their families: Survivors of war: catalysts for change (pp. 38-49). Washington: Agent Orange Class Assistance Program.
  3. Harkness, L. (1993). Transgenerational transmission of war-related trauma. In J. P. Wilson & B. Raphael (Eds.), International handbook of traumatic stress syndromes (pp. 635-643). New York: Plenum Press.
  4. Parsons, J., Kehle, T. J., & Owen, S. V. (1990). Incidence of behavior problems among children of Vietnam War veterans. School Psychology International, 11, 253-259.
  5. Rosenheck, R., & Fontana, A. (1998). Transgenerational effects of abusive violence on the children of Vietnam combat veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 731-742.
  6. Dansby, V. S., & Marinelli, R. P. (1999). Adolescent children of Vietnam combat veteran fathers: A population at risk. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 329-340.
  7. Kellerman, N. (2001). Psychopathology in children of Holocaust survivors: A review of the research literature. Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 38, 36-46.
  8. Ancharoff, M. R., Munroe, J. F., & Fisher, L. M. (1998). The legacy of combat trauma: Clinical implications of intergenerational transmission. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp. 257-275). New York: Plenum Press.
  9. Harkness, L. (1991). The effect of combat-related PTSD on children. National Center for PTSD Clinical Quarterly, 2(1).
Date Created: 10/22/2009 See last Reviewed/Updated Date below.

Obama: New PTSD rules ‘long overdue step’

By the CNN Wire Staff July 10, 2010 11:26 a.m. EDT

Washington (CNN) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is making it  easier for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder to get  benefits, a development President Barack Obama calls a “long overdue  step.”           In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said Veterans Affairs will launch new  rules for easing PTSD documentation requirements starting next week.           Current department rules require veterans to document events like firefights  or bomb explosions that could have caused the disorder. Such documentation was  often time-consuming and difficult, and sometimes was impossible.           Under the new rules a veteran need show only that he or she served in a war  and performed a job during which events could have happened that could cause  the disorder.   “… for years, many veterans with PTSD who have tried to seek benefits  — veterans of today’s wars and earlier wars — have often found themselves  stymied. They’ve been required to produce evidence proving that a specific  event caused their PTSD. And that practice has kept the vast majority of those  with PTSD who served in non-combat roles, but who still waged war, from getting  the care they need,” Obama said.   “Well, I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take  notes to keep for a claims application. And I’ve met enough veterans to know  that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war. So  we’re changing the way things are done.”           Under the new rules, no benefits will be passed along until a Veterans  Affairs psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that a veteran actually suffers  from post-traumatic stress disorder. Department officials say that should  reduce the risk of fraudulent claims.           One congressional analysis reportedly put the cost of the new changes at $5  billion.           A senior department official said the cost is “relatively small”  because under the older, much longer process, most vets eventually were granted  benefits. The new process, while likely granting benefits to more veterans,  will be quicker and easier and therefore less costly per case, officials said.           Obama says the new process “will help veterans not just of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, but generations of their  brave predecessors who proudly served and sacrificed in all our wars.   “It’s a step that proves America will always be here for our  veterans, just as they’ve been there for us. We won’t let them down. We take  care of our own.”

CNN’s Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.