Can I Raise My Child Successfully While in Treatment for PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a devastating condition that can impair your sense of well-being as well as interfere with your interpersonal relationships. If you are a parent with PTSD, you may have concerns about your ability to parent well while you are in treatment. First and foremost, recognize that your concerns are valid. Although you may wish you could put your parenting on hold as you establish wellness in your life, raising a child is a never-ending task. Fortunately, at Alter Behavioral Health, we can customize your treatment for PTSD to ensure that you feel confident in your ability to parent well. 

The Challenges of Parenting With a Psychological Disorder

Undoubtedly so, raising a child poses immense challenges for anyone. From learning how to balance family and professional life to ensuring that you are meeting your child’s developmental needs, there is no question that parenting is a substantial task on its own. However, attempting to raise a child with a PTSD diagnosis can feel even more concerning and intimidating. 

Fortunately, if you are reading this, you are likely either contemplating participating in treatment for PTSD or have already begun a treatment program. For many parents, beginning treatment is one of the most difficult steps in recovery as it requires you to prioritize your own needs, which can be a painful experience for a mother or father. After all, many people seem to think that proper parenting requires you to place your child’s needs before your own; yet that doesn’t have to be the case. 

Learning how to balance your needs and the needs of your children is an important part of establishing wellness for the whole family. Professional treatment can offer you the education, tools, and skills that you need to honor your mental health needs while working to parent well in recovery. 

Understanding Your Need for Treatment for PTSD

If you have not yet begun treatment for PTSD, it is necessary to understand how your condition will affect your ability to raise your child. As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) explains, “PTSD makes it hard to do everyday things and this may lead to unmet family needs. Partners and children may feel more stress and talking to one another may be tough.”

Some of the specific ways that PTSD can affect your ability to parent include:

  • Experiencing lasting feelings of guilt, shame, fear, or grief that interfere with your willingness to pursue closeness with your child
  • Feeling hopeless or depressed, so much so that you no longer want to engage in play or other fun activities with your child
  • Appearing increasingly anxious, “on edge,” or grouchy as a result, which can cause your child to question your love for them

Moreover, the VA also explains, “The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving which, in turn, may impact the way a loved one responds to the trauma survivor.” It is crucial to keep in mind that young children are incapable of understanding that your behaviors (whether anxious, depressed, erratic, etc.) are lasting symptoms of PTSD. Thus, participating in treatment for PTSD will allow you to address any problematic parenting behaviors before they cause potentially long-lasting harm to your child. 

Treatment for PTSD at Alter Behavioral Health

Now that you recognize your need for treatment, it is vital to address available treatment programs that can assist you as you heal. At Alter Behavioral Health, we apply a modern approach to healing and recovery by utilizing individualized, whole-person approaches to care. We offer residential as well as outpatient treatment programs, ensuring that you have the flexible treatment options you need to continue parenting in recovery. 

While trauma treatment will vary from person to person, our treatment for PTSD often incorporates pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy modalities. Some types of trauma-informed therapies we may incorporate into your care include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps you in identifying problematic, false, or otherwise intrusive patterns of thought to effectively promote behavior change
  • Cognitive processing therapy: Helps you reduce all-or-nothing thinking that may be tied to your past trauma
  • Prolonged exposure therapy: Provides a safe environment where you will face your fears and work through your trauma triggers over time
  • Stress inoculation therapy: Exposes you to mild stress triggers, allowing you to actively practice coping skills for more intense triggers associated with PTSD
  • Group therapy: Provides a social support group that allows you to connect and heal with others who also have PTSD
  • Family therapy: Helps to resolve family distress associated with your PTSD diagnosis

Meanwhile, medication is also available to help alleviate any moderate to severe symptoms of PTSD. Some examples of prescription medications we may incorporate into your treatment plan include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and sleeping medications. 

Raising a child with a PTSD diagnosis can pose many challenges. However, as you become educated about the potential consequences that your child may experience if you leave your PTSD untreated, it will motivate your willingness to participate in treatment and recovery. Undoubtedly, you can raise your child successfully as you gather new tools and skills in treatment for PTSD. At Alter Behavioral Health, we treat a wide range of mental health disorders and psychological issues to ensure that our clients feel confident in their ability to function well in daily life. We can customize your treatment plan, incorporating new skills that will benefit your parenting. To learn more, give us a call at (866) 691-4386.