Some Caregivers Suffering from Secondary PTSD

If you believe you are suffering from Secondary PTSD, contact your local VA.

Awareness is rising that combat PTSD no longer only affects veterans. Brannan Vines of Daphne, Alamaba, is one of many veteran caretakers who has been diagnosed with Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


Brannan's husband, Caleb Vines, returned from two deployments in Iraq with injuries from multiple IEDs. She had been his sole caregiver since 2007, trying to cope with his PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Her own behavior has begun to resemble her husband's night tremors, erratic mood swings, and paranoia.

Said Brannan, "I was having nightmares about Iraq -- a place I've never been, other than in pictures and that kind of thing. I got to where I didn't like crowded places, just like my husband. It was all these sorts of things where, literally, I was almost mirroring his behavior."

"Although [caregivers with Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] didn't experience that initial trauma that injured the veteran, they are experiencing that trauma through being exposed to what the veteran has endured," says Deborah Amdur, who runs the VA's program that provides mental health services to caregivers. 

Already, 6,000 caregivers have contacted the VA for help. If you believe you may be suffering from Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, contact your local VA.