How to Take Care of Yourself When Your Spouse Has a Combat Stress Injury

A service member holding his daughter and his wife hugging them

*Military OneSource does not provide medical counseling services for issues such as depression, substance abuse, suicide prevention or post-traumatic stress disorder. The article below is intended for informational purposes only. Military OneSource can provide referrals to your local military treatment facility, TRICARE or another appropriate resource.

When your spouse returns from a deployment with a combat stress injury or post-traumatic stress disorder, you might find yourself preoccupied with caring for him or her. It is imperative that you find time to take care of yourself too. The stress that follows a service member home from combat often affects everyone in the household. To do the best for you and your spouse, your care also has to be a priority. If you feel emotionally and physically exhausted by the role of caregiver, know there are steps you can take to find relief.

Combat stress and symptoms

Combat stress is a common reaction to the stressful, dangerous and disturbing experiences of war. It’s often the natural outcome of exposure to one or more traumatic or life-threatening events, or being in a high-stress environment for a prolonged period of time. Everyone is changed in some way by combat experiences. For some, the symptoms of combat stress are actually symptoms of an injury, and these can become a longer-term mental health concern.

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