This Children’s Book Helps Kids Understand a Parent’s Battle With PTSD

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on June 21, 2020.

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is an anxiety disorder that many veterans experience following their service overseas. The condition can manifest in many different ways, from intense emotional outbursts such as anger flare-ups to intrusive memories, including vivid flashbacks. Those with PTSD often don't understand why they're experiencing these symptoms and what they can do to control them. 

Sadly, spouses, children and other close family and friends often get the brunt of PTSD's intense side effects. While many suffer in silence or turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, one army veteran found a way to turn his experience with PTSD into a valuable resource for military families facing this intense battle. "Why Is Dad So Mad?" published in 2015 to give outsiders and young children a way to understand what it's like to have post-traumatic stress disorder. 

How the Book Came About

After 16 years in the United States Army Reserve and multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar, it was time for 1st Sgt. Seth Kastle to come home. Yet, after over a decade fighting wars on two fronts, Kastle was not the same man. What he described as a "flame of anger" now lived inside him. He couldn't calm it or understand it, let alone explain it to his wife and young daughter. For years, his family struggled under the weight of Kastle's PTSD, but his wife continued to stay by his side.

They found a therapy that worked and moved forward. However, Kastle struggled with the idea that he couldn't explain to his daughter what her dad was going through. One day, he wrote a story explaining his experience with PTSD, then quickly forgot about it. After a fellow veteran published a book, he realized his story could help veterans explain to their children why their parents struggled with this condition.

The Goal of This Book

Many service members deal with the effects of PTSD and don't know how to tell those they love the most. Whether it's the anger that Kastle struggled with or nightmares and drastic mood changes, "Why Is Dad So Mad?" explains these symptoms and how they affect a father. Kastle has since gone on to write "Why Is Mom So Mad?" to give a voice to female veterans with PTSD.

The goal of these books is to help young children understand what their parent is going through and that even if dad or mom gets angry and yells, they still love their family.

Addiction Is Not the Answer

While drugs or alcohol may temporarily numb the pain of PTSD, these substances are not the answer. Addiction can make having PTSD much harder on those you love. 

If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction fueled by the symptoms of PTSD, help is available. At Diamond House Detox, we specialize in treating dual-diagnoses such as addiction and PTSD. With the help of our in-house medical team, you will find the hope and healing you and your family deserve after a career of service to this country. Contact us today to learn more.