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Helping a Loved One Through PTSD

One in 11 people in the United States experiences the sometimes life-altering symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lifetime.

If PTSD is affecting you or someone you love, you can find help from Richard Repass, MD, and our team at Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment in Mercer Island, Washington. 

We provide resources in person and through telemedicine to help you overcome the devastating effects of PTSD and can guide you as you help those you love who are suffering from the disorder.

Learning about PTSD

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after a traumatic event or circumstance. While any type of trauma can be a trigger for PTSD, some of the most common events include:

The symptoms of PTSD can occur soon after the event, or it can take years for symptoms to appear.

Knowing the symptoms of PTSD

There are four main categories of PTSD symptoms. If you have concerns about a loved one and PTSD, watch for symptoms that fall under these categories.

Intrusive thoughts

Intrusive thoughts involve repeated memories and flashbacks of the traumatic event. For some, the flashbacks are very real and make them feel like they are experiencing the events again.

Avoidance behaviors

Avoidance describes staying away from places, people, and things that are associated with the traumatic event. Those with PTSD may not be willing to speak about the trauma or their feelings about the event.

Mood and cognitive changes

Those with PTSD often experience negative thought patterns and feel guilty about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event. It’s also common to feel persistent:

Many feel increasingly detached from others, including their family and friends, and find it difficult to have positive emotions or find happiness in life.

Changes in emotional reactions

PTSD commonly causes persistent irritability and mood changes that are difficult to control. Your loved one may be easily startled or scared and may find it difficult to sleep or stay focused on daily tasks and responsibilities.

Those with PTSD are also prone to engaging in reckless or self-destructive behaviors.

For all these reasons, loving someone with PTSD can be challenging and overwhelming. For  professional psychiatric care, turn to Dr. Repass to help your loved one get started on the road to better health and happiness. 

Our team can also provide more insight into how you can help your friend or family member with PTSD.

Tips for helping someone you love live with PTSD

The toll PTSD takes on a person affects not only them but those around them. The changing behaviors and the uncertainties of someone living with PTSD requires treatment, patience, and understanding.

Here are some tips our team has to offer about loving someone with PTSD:

Be a support system

Sometimes just being there for someone with PTSD makes a difference. Not all people with PTSD or other mental health disorders are willing to talk about their struggles, but when they want to, be ready to listen without judgment.

Avoid offering advice or pressing too hard for change. Instead, practice active listening by allowing them to speak without interrupting and respect what they have to say, even if it’s not something you agree with.

Rebuild your relationship

Because PTSD can negatively alter relationships, let the one you love know you’re committed to supporting them in the long term.

Rebuild trust by being reliable and trustworthy. Find ways to minimize daily stresses and help create a safe, stable space where your loved one can thrive.

Be aware of PTSD triggers

People, places, and things can all be triggers for PTSD symptoms. 

Learn to recognize the issues that can trigger emotional upset or flashbacks in your friend or family member, such as loud noises, anniversary dates of the event, or overwhelming social situations.

While you can’t protect them from everything in their environment, your efforts likely won’t go unnoticed.

Care for yourself

You can’t be there for someone in need if you’re not healthy yourself. Stay aware of your own levels of stress and struggles and get the help you need to cope. Take time to relax and recharge so you can be there for others.

If you need guidance in supporting someone with PTSD, call us at Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment or book an appointment online today.

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