How to Help Someone with PTSD
Watching someone you love and care about suffer from PTSD can be hard. You may feel like you don’t know how to act around them or want to help but don’t know how. Below are ways to support those with PTSD.
The first step you can take in helping those you care about is learning more about PTSD and what it means to suffer from it. Take the time to understand the causes, symptoms and effects to better understand what your loved one is going through. When things get tough, it is easy to get frustrated with someone who is dealing with this disorder. Remember that they are going through something out of their control and your support is important.
Listen, be patient
Sometimes it can take a person dealing with PTSD a while before they seek treatment. While it is important to encourage treatment, they also need to come to this decision on their own. Being supportive and a good listener in the meantime can be very helpful for their ultimate choice to seek treatment. Don’t push them to talk, but let them know you are there to listen. If they do want to talk, try to listen without judgement so that they feel comfortable to keep coming to you.
Make sure to take care of yourself
Being around someone who is struggling with PTSD is not only hard for them, but can take a toll on you mentally as well. Make sure you are taking care of your physical and mental health as well. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, don’t forget to take time for yourself to destress and relax.
Understanding triggers and symptoms
If you are living with someone with PTSD it is important to recognize their triggers. Triggers can be anything, sometimes an object, person or place that reminds them of their traumatic experience. Ask your loved one to explain what triggers them so that you can best help them avoid those triggers. Make a plan for when triggers or a flare up of symptoms do happen and ask them what you can do to help when this happens.
There are many resources out there to help those with PTSD as well as their families and loved ones. For family and friends of veterans, visit www.ptsd.va.gov for more information and help.
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