How can you help someone living with PTSD?
We all know when someone we love is suffering even if they don’t show it. But when someone you care about if suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, worried, and terrified. Even if this disorder leaves you feeling helpless, your support can make all the difference to your loved one. Let’s take a look at how PTSD changes relationships and how you can help someone with PTSD.
How Does PTSD Impact Relationships?
PTSD can take a heavy toll on every relationship. This disorder can make it hard to understand why a loved one is behaving more volatile and less affectionate than before. It often feels like the person is living with a stranger. It is often frustrating when you have to take on a bigger role in running the household and deal with a loved one that is angry and refuses to open up. Some symptoms
of PTSD can even lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that can affect the entire household. Some symptoms of PTSD include a state of constant alert and unease and anger
, irritability, depression, and mistrust that your loved one can’t “turn off”. But with the right support and help, your loved one may be able to move on from this traumatic event. So if you are feeling intensely helpless, remember there are some things you can do to help you loved one.
How to Help Someone with PTSD
One of the worse parts of loving someone with PTSD is the helplessness that can feel overwhelming. But there are some things you can do to help. The first thing you can do is to provide social support. This support can help them overcome feelings of grief, despair, and their own feelings of helplessness. Social support can include not pressuring your loved one into talking about their experiences, doing “normal” activities like exercising and hobbies, making a safe space for them to seek comfort, and educating yourself on PTSD.
It is also important for you to help them rebuild trust and a sense of safety in their home. Trauma changes the way a person views the world and makes the world seem constantly dangerous and frightening. But through your bond, you can help this person rebuild their trust in the world. This may mean going grocery shopping together, maintaining regular schedules and meal times, and simply being there when the person needs you to be. You should also try to minimize stress, make plans for the future, and keep any promises you make to them. Encouraging your loved one to talk to others in the same situation may also help.
As a loved one of someone experiencing PTSD, it is also important for you to anticipate and manage triggers that may set them off. These triggers can be a person, place, thing, or even a situation that sets off a flashback. These triggers could be obvious like a loud noise for someone who was in the military. But they are not always obvious so it may take some time to identify them all. Even a song that was playing on the radio during the traumatic event could trigger a flashback. Make a list of common external or internal triggers that could cause episodes and try to avoid them when possible. Many people with PTSD need to be pulled out of them through other sense like touch or sight in order to regain full consciousness while others need to be left alone. Ask your loved one how you can help when they have a flashback, nightmare, or panic attack.
It is also important to take care of your self during this time. It can be hard to think of yourself when your loved one needs you but you have to do it. Ask for help when you need it or take some time to decompress by doing something you love. Whatever your needs are, Family Service Foundation is here to help. For more information on our services, call Family Service Foundation
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Family Service Foundation, Inc.
has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To learn more about cerebral palsy
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