How to Help a Loved One with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD & Trauma

It can be challenging to watch someone you love struggle with PTSD. At times, they may seem moody or distant, or may appear to be changing in ways you don’t understand. You may find yourself wishing you could have the old them back or feel helpless while watching them struggle. At times, you may feel so disheartened or frustrated and feel like their recovery seems impossible.

However, it’s important to not give up or lose hope. Many people can, and do, successfully overcome PTSD. By educating yourself about their condition and acting in ways that support their recovery, you can help your loved one cope with the negative feelings associated with PTSD and stay on a path of improvement.

What Is PTSD & What Does It Look Like?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition that people sometimes experience after encountering a life-threatening or traumatic event. PTSD is often associated with military veterans because of the trauma that often occurs in war and battle, but individuals who are not involved with the military can also be afflicted by the disorder. PTSD affects people of all ages, background, and gender. In the US, it’s estimated that over 14 million adults are affected by PTSD.

What PTSD looks like can vary from one person to the next. Not everyone responds to trauma in the same way. However, there are some commonalities among individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD. Generally, the disorder is characterized by the experience of one or more of the following symptoms for a time period lasting longer than one month:

  • Re-experiencing of trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, or memories
  • Emotional disconnection or numbness or a tendency to avoid certain people, things, or places related to the event.
  • Feelings of hyperarousal that are often described as feeling on edge, being easily irritable, feeling jumpy, or feeling like one is in a constant state of danger

How to Help Someone Who Has PTSD

Watching someone you love suffer from PTSD can be a heartbreaking experience. You may feel like you want to help your loved one and do things to support them, but aren’t sure to go about it or are concerned that you will make matters worse.

However, chances are, that anything you do in attempt to help your loved one will probably be supportive of them. By taking the following steps, you can help your family member, friend, partner, or child cope with PTSD and guide them towards the pathway to recovery.

Encourage your loved one to seek professional help.

  • The person that is best equipped to help your loved one overcome PTSD is a doctor or mental health professional. Getting professional help is paramount to recovery. Encourage your loved one to seek advice from a professional if they are not getting it or talk to their doctor about negative emotions or issues when they arise.

Help them feel safe and create a sense of trust.

  • People with PTSD tend to feel like they are always in danger. Creating a safe, secure environment and establishing feelings of trust can help your loved one find relief from the stress and emotional turmoil they’re experiencing. Help them identify and anticipate triggers and work with them to create a plan for avoiding them. Help them find ways to calm down when they experience an emotional outburst.

Be a good listener and offer emotional support.

  • You should never pressure your loved one to talk to you about the event. However, if they do decide to confide in you, be a good listener and don’t judge them or offer unsolicited advice. Many times, people with PTSD simply need someone who they can vent to about their thoughts and feelings.

PTSD can be a difficult thing to experience, but recovery is possible. By working with a therapist and providing a lot of love, support, and encouragement, you can help your loved one overcome this distressing condition.

Get More Information on PTSD Treatment in Denver

If you would like to learn more about PTSD or are looking for PTSD treatment in Denver, please contact our office. We would be more than happy to help you and your loved one in anyway possible. We look forward to hearing from you soon!