Watch for PTSD signs at Memorial Day events

Watch for PTSD signs at Memorial Day events

A Brentwood-based addiction center has alerted family and friends to look for the warning signs of loved ones who suffer from post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD) as the Memorial Day holiday arrives.

“This is the weekend when we honor the sacrifices made for our freedom, but it is also the weekend many binge drink,” said Brian Sullivan, public relations manager for Addiction Campuses.

“It’s easy to blame the family alcoholic for ruining Memorial Day after drama ensues at the barbecue, but if you take a look further, they are somebody you loved enough to want to spend the day with.”

Sullivan said studies continue to show PTSD and addiction have a common link for soldiers suffering from the mental health condition triggered by damaging military experiences.

“A lot of those people turn to addiction. We treat both, oftentimes when they coincide.”

That’s because many with the disorder are unable to cope with the pain of their memories and, as a result, some turn to alcohol or drugs to escape. But using those substances only exacerbates the symptoms of the disorder, Sullivan said.

And although common causes are military combat, violent assaults or natural disasters, Sullivan said it isn’t just soldiers on the ground who a susceptible to PTSD.

“It is not just a diagnosis that affects soldiers,” he said. “A large number of women suffer from PTSD after sexual-physical assaults.”

For family members, the situation can be difficult, Sullivan said. To answer the question ‘What should I do if…?” Sullivan provided the following tips:

“DON’T LET THEM DRIVE. Take the keys.

DON’T ENGAGE. If they start getting sloppy angry and want to argue about things that happened in the past, don’t entertain them.

LET THEM DRINK. I know, an addiction recovery center is telling you to let them drink. Here’s why. For starters, the family picnic is not a place for an intervention. There are possibly children there. If you don’t allow them to be themselves, they will leave the house and go to the next drop-off and get their buzz on anyway. So, again, take their keys, offer them a place to stay.

IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A DRY MEMORIAL DAY. The world is not going to come to an end if you don’t serve alcohol at your get together. If you know someone you want to invite always causes a scene and drinks too much, don’t have alcohol there.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW, ASK. There’s no shame in asking someone what they are and aren’t okay with. If someone is in recovery, it’s no secret to them. They know they live with an addiction. Ask them if they are going to be okay if you serve alcohol.

“The main thing is to make sure everyone is taken into consideration,” Sullivan said. “That includes YOU.”

To find out more about Addiction Campuses’ services, visit their website at

Jonathan Romeo covers Brentwood for Home Page Media Group. Contact him

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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