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How To Help Someone With PTSD? 7 Helpful Tips For You In 2023
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health disorder caused by a stressful incident that causes excessive anxiety and emotional anguish. It could have serious ramifications for most people if left unaddressed. When someone you care about, whether a spouse, family member, or friend, suffers from PTSD, relationship problems may arise. You may struggle to understand their actions, and their reluctance to reveal their thoughts and feelings may irritate you. The good news is that assisting them can significantly impact how quickly they recover. So, how can you help someone with PTSD?
This article will discuss how to help someone with emotional trauma overcome their symptoms. It explains how PTSD emerges, what can be done to help, what to avoid, and why it is critical to create a safe space for individuals with PTSD.
Helping Someone With PTSD
Here are seven efficient ways to assist someone living with PTSD:
- Extend words of support.
- Provide practical support.
- Educate yourself about PTSD.
- Study what triggers their reactions.
- Be patient.
- Motivate them to seek professional help.
- Be respectful.
How To Help Someone With PTSD
The path to recovery from PTSD can be challenging, but it is manageable with the right support. Have you wondered how to help someone with PTSD sleep or remain comfortable? The following seven methods may be helpful in your efforts:
Extend Words Of Support
Words of encouragement for someone with PTSD may help comfort them. Assure they can rely on your support and that you have faith in their ability to overcome any obstacle. Remind them that healing takes time by acknowledging even small steps toward improvement.
Provide Practical Support
People with PTSD may struggle to carry out routine tasks. Practical ways to help include looking for local therapists, going with them to appointments, and making phone calls on their behalf. By easing their load, you allow them to prioritize their well-being.
Educate Yourself More About PTSD
Knowledge is indeed powerful when coping with mental disorders, including PTSD. You can assist a friend or family member more effectively if you have a deeper understanding of PTSD, its causes, warning signs, and treatment options. Consider joining local social support groups to meet others who share similar experiences with their loved ones.
Study What Triggers Their Reactions
For someone with PTSD, any situation, traumatic event, or object that evokes fear can be a trigger. Even minor things can set off PTSD symptoms, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal. By recognizing and avoiding potential triggers and providing a secure and supportive environment for a person with PTSD, you may make a world of difference in their quality of life. To make them feel safe and appreciated, be patient, compassionate, and nonjudgmental in your contact with them.
It’s crucial to be patient with those who live with posttraumatic stress disorder since they may fight their diagnosis, withdraw from social interactions, or feel like a burden to others. Even if your loved one with PTSD doesn’t reply immediately, keep trying to connect with them. The healing process takes time, and everyone must go at their own pace.
Motivate Them To Seek Professional Help
The worst thing to do to someone who suffers from PTSD is to force them to go to mental illness treatment against their wishes. However, you may suggest that they consult professional help from the right therapist or counselor who is knowledgeable about PTSD treatment. If they are ready for or considering treatment, offer to help them identify resources and go with them to appointments.
Show respect to individuals with PTSD and avoid diminishing their sentiments or acting as if nothing happened. Phrases such as “it could have been worse” or implying that PTSD is a personal shortcoming should be avoided. These words may harm the individual, their confidence in you, and their connection with you.
PTSD Common Signs
PTSD symptoms differ from person to person, even when the traumatic experiences that created the mental health condition are similar. Symptoms of the mental health disorder include a lack of capacity to regulate one’s thoughts, intense anxiety, recurring nightmares, and flashbacks — all symptoms present in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V-TR, the mental health clinician’s handbook.
Memory loss is a common symptom of PTSD, and studies have connected it to short-term and long-term diagnoses. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward helping someone with PTSD. In this section, we’ll look at some of the most prominent symptoms of PTSD as defined in the DSM-V-TR.
Avoidance Of Triggers
What constitutes a trigger depends on the person, the event, the amount of time that has passed since a past trauma occurred, and the person’s resiliency. People with PTSD often avoid stimuli related to the traumatic event. They may avoid people or places that remind them of the trauma, and they may avoid talking about it with others. As a result, individuals may withdraw from social situations and cease engaging in things they once enjoyed.
PTSD is characterized by more than just dreams and flashbacks. The mental disorder may also affect a person’s disposition and actions. They could develop traits like impatience, anger, or apathy. Depression, hopelessness, and suicidal behavior may also come and go.
Those with PTSD may experience extreme feelings of fear, helplessness, guilt, or anger resulting from experiencing traumatic events. These intensely mixed feelings may also be accompanied by unusual behavior. For instance, a normally cautious driver may suddenly find themselves driving swiftly or becoming overly aggressive. In reality, anger outbursts that don’t seem to have any basis can be typical, making it difficult to manage everyday stresses.
Things To Avoid
Don’t Disregard PTSD Triggers
To assist someone with PTSD, you must first understand what causes their symptoms. They may experience higher anxiety and emotional distress if their triggers are disregarded. Specific triggers may include loud noises and sudden movements, depending on the trauma they have experienced.
You can provide support by listening to their worries, being mindful of what may cause them concern, and providing a safe environment where they may feel at peace. Additionally, you can help them set boundaries and plan to avoid crowding and loud noises in social situations.
Don’t Force Them To Seek Assistance
Someone coerced into seeking mental health care is less likely to be open and honest with their therapist. Forcing someone to participate in treatment limits their autonomy, so patient motivation is vital. Aid them in receiving mental health care, address their worries, be patient, and show your support for whatever they wish to pursue.
Don’t Ignore PTSD Feelings And Emotions
Feelings, thoughts, and experiences associated with PTSD should not be minimized or ignored. When people’s feelings are downplayed, it can make them feel unheard and invalidated, both detrimental to recovery.
Don’t Be Upset
It is tough to talk about past trauma, so when someone with PTSD opens up about their traumatic experience, it is significant. Inquiries such as, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” may make a person with PTSD feel guilty and sad and may appear to be punished.
This makes them less likely to share sensitive information with you or others in the future. Instead, thank them for trusting you, and express your desire to assist them in the future.
Don’t Shame Individuals With PTSD
People should not be blamed or shamed for their traumatic experiences or reactions to them. People with PTSD often feel ashamed about their condition, which can exacerbate their symptoms.
Don’t Pressure Them To Talk
Talking about PTSD and traumatic experiences can be distressing and unsettling for some people. Instead, tell them you will listen if and when they are ready to discuss it.
Don’t Give Unsolicited Counsel
Someone with PTSD may find it offensive if you provide unsolicited advice, even if you have good intentions. Be supportive without interjecting your opinions or ideals, and listen carefully to the other person’s worries and hopes.
The Bottom Line
PTSD symptoms may or may not appear immediately following a traumatic event. Several factors, including persistent flashbacks, may affect the disorder’s severity. Remember that a person with PTSD may not always be able to control their actions.
The constant need to remain on guard against perceived threats makes life difficult for someone with chronic PTSD. As a result, it can be critical to assist a loved one who is experiencing PTSD symptoms. It can significantly impact a person’s recovery if you know how to help someone with PTSD flashbacks and other symptoms. This article does not serve as medical advice, but these seven approaches could make a difference if applied safely under the guidance of a medical professional.
+ 6 sources
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- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2023). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd
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