Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Understanding, Treatment & Help
It can be incredibly difficult to watch your partner, friend, or family member struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, especially if you’re not sure what you can do to help. Here are some warning signs of PTSD and a few steps you can take to support your loved one to ensure they get the needed mental health care.
Signs of PTSD
While PTSD isn’t always easy to identify, there are some common symptoms that people experience after a traumatic event:
Mood swings and behavior changes
Memories and flashbacks of traumatic events
Avoidance of people and places that remind them of the event
Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
How to Support Your Loved One Who is Showing Signs of PTSD
Help the person feel loved and accepted: Let your loved one know that you are in this for the long haul. Ask what you can do to help. Be consistent– follow through when you promise to do something. Routines and structure can provide a sense of security. Remain calm when your loved one exhibits mood swings or bouts of anger, but avoid touching or grabbing, as this can escalate the situation. Continue to engage in normal, everyday activities together.
Make yourself available to talk, but don’t push: Sometimes, it can take a while before someone with PTSD is ready to talk about what they’ve been through. Give them freedom to open up at their own pace. When they are ready, take time to really listen without interrupting. Don’t minimize the trauma or assume that you know exactly how your loved one feels.
Encourage the person to seek help: Encourage your loved one to see a doctor or counselor for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment. Enlisting the help of a qualified mental health care professional can help the person process the trauma and eventually overcome it.
Don’t forget about self-care: Being in a relationship with someone who is coping with a mental health disorder can be exhausting. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, seeking support from friends and family, and taking time to recharge your batteries.
Educating yourself about traumatic stress and PTSD treatment can help you better understand and connect with your loved one. Remember that it’s not your responsibility to “fix” the problem. Just being there can go a long way toward empowering your loved one to successfully navigate the road to recovery.
Does Your Loved One Need Additional Mental Health Care Resources?