How to Help Someone with PTSD

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Gerry

When someone you care about suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can leave you  feeling overwhelmed. The changes in your loved one can be worrying or even terrifying. You may feel  angry about what’s happening to your family and relationship, or hurt by your loved one’s distance  and moodiness. But it’s important to know is that you’re not helpless. Your support can make all  the difference in your partner, friend, or family member’s recovery. With your help, your loved one  can overcome PTSD and move on with his or her life.

PTSD can take a heavy toll on relationships. It can be hard to understand your loved one’s behavior—why he or she is less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. You may have to take on a bigger share of household tasks, deal with the frustration of a loved one who won’t open up, or even deal with anger or disturbing behavior. The symptoms of PTSD can also lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.

It’s hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but it’s important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over his or her behavior.

Your loved one’s nervous system is “stuck” in a state of constant alert, continually feeling vulnerable and unsafe.  This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one can’t simply choose to turn off.

Below are just a few tips on how to help someone with PTSD:

  • Provide social support
  • Be a good listener.
  • Rebuild trust and safety.
  • Anticipate and manage triggers
  • Deal with volatility and anger
  • Take care of yourself

With PTSD becoming more common, the chances of someone having to support an individual who is living with the disorder has greatly increased. Always keep in mind though that you never have to do it alone as there are various support services available to individuals and families. So take the time this June to raise awareness of this illness to others. PTSD is represented by a teal ribbon. You can find teal awareness items in our store.

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