Tips on how to help a loved one with PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by distressing or frightening experiences. A person living with the condition will often relive an event through flashbacks or nightmares, and will experience a variety of negative emotions, such as feelings of guilt, isolation or irritability.
Consequently, they might struggle with concentration issues or experience sleeping problems, which can affect their quality of life.
If you believe a family member or friend could be living with the disorder, or want to provide them with support following a diagnosis, find out how to help a loved one with PTSD.
Learn About PTSD Symptoms
It is important to recognize that your relative or friend’s actions might not accurately reflect their feelings. For example, rather than being frustrated or angered that they refuse to attend social events, realize they might be afraid to trigger upsetting memories or thoughts. By taking the time to understand PTSD and its symptoms, you’ll be able to show your loved one greater understanding and support.
Don’t Force Them to Talk
If a loved one is living with PTSD, you must not force them to talk about an event, as it can often be difficult to discuss the traumatic experience with others. Instead, you should state you are ready and willing to listen should they want to discuss the event with you.
Be Patient and Positive
The road to recovery can be long for some people living with PTSD. While you might want nothing more than for them to move on from a distressing event, you must understand that the treating PTSD can take time and they might need to deal with various setbacks along the way. The best way to help a friend or relative is to remain both patient and positive, which can make them feel loved and supported.
Recognize Their Triggers
By identifying your loved one’s PTSD triggers, you can avoid environments or actions that can cause a setback in their recovery. For example, if the evening news triggers PTSD symptoms, encourage your loved one to perform various activities when it is aired or ensure a channel isn’t left on your television at a particular time.
Help with Flashbacks
Following a traumatic event, a loved one might endure flashbacks, which are vivid memories that force them to relive an experience. To help your family member or friend when they have a flashback, you should:
- Remain calm
- Avoid making sudden movements
- Encourage them to breathe both slowly and deeply
- Gently state they are experiencing a flashback
- Ask them to describe their current surroundings
The above tactics can help them to return from a flashback and become more aware of their environment.
Spot the Signs
It is possible you might notice a change in a loved one’s behavior if they are struggling with PTSD. For example, they might:
- Be quick to anger or upset
- Turn up late for work or miss deadlines
- Struggle with concentration or appear alert
If you notice one or more of the above signs, ask how they are feeling, which could encourage them to open up to you.
Encourage Them to Visit a PTSD Center
A post-traumatic stress center can provide advice and support for those who are living with PTSD. For example, if your family member or friend has endured a psychological trauma, such as an accident, sudden death of a loved one, a natural disaster or abuse and has developed PTSD, they could benefit from a variety of confidential PTSD treatment options to help them move on from a painful experience.
A break-though injection for PTSD, known as the stellate ganglion block (SGB), may be an effective treatment option for your relative or loved one. The SGB treatment for PTSD is a single injection that gives long-term results with minimum side effects. Unlike PTSD medication, the SGB for PTSD provides quick results. To find out if you are an eligible candidate to receive the SGB, fill out our PCL quiz today!
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