There Are Treatment Options
Amid the feelings of hopelessness and isolation, people with PTSD do have options. The best way to tackle the mental health issue is with education and seeking the help of a professional.
People with PTSD feel like they are going crazy and are all alone in their condition. And the partner feels exactly the same, Wen says.
Often what we see in our clinic is that couples therapy becomes a gateway into individual treatment, Wen shares. The veteran might not necessarily agree to individual treatment yet. They dont want to feel like there is something wrong with them.
To support my partner and my own mental health, I continued my established solo therapy routine. Beyond that, I researched and tried a few other treatment options as well.
Here are few that may help you or your partner with PTSD:
- Seek individual therapy as a partner of someone with PTSD.
- Encourage your partner to attend individual therapy with a PTSD specialist.
- Attend couples therapy.
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Treatment For Children And Teenagers With Ptsd
For children and teenagers who are struggling to recover after a traumatic event, the recommended treatment is trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy . This treatment involves:
- learning about the type of traumatic event experienced and common reactions to trauma
- teaching how to relax and manage anxiety
- helping to create a coherent story of the traumatic event, and correct any unhelpful beliefs about the event such as self-blame
- gradual exposure to trauma-related objects or situations that are feared or avoided
- helping to get back into everyday activities.
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How Can People Cope With Ptsd
Some suggested ways for PTSD patients to cope with this illness include learning more about the disorder as well as talking to friends, family, professionals, and PTSD survivors for support. Joining a support group may be helpful. Other tips include reducing stress by using relaxation techniques , actively participating in treatment as recommended by professionals, increasing positive lifestyle practices , and minimizing negative lifestyle practices like substance abuse, social isolation, working to excess, and self-destructive or suicidal behaviors.
Look After Your Own Mental Health
It’s important to remember that your mental health matters too. Our pages on supporting someone else to seek help, how to cope when supporting someone else, managing stress and maintaining your wellbeing all have lots of information and tips on how to look after yourself.
Support options for you
A traumatic event can have a major impact not just on those who lived through it, but also on that person’s close family, friends and colleagues.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in healthcare – says professionals should consider the impact of traumatic events on relatives and think about how to provide appropriate care.
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Enlist The Help Of Others
If you know that you may be at risk for a flashback or dissociation by going into a certain situation, bring along some trusted support. Make sure that the person you bring with you is also aware of your triggers and knows how to tell and what to do when you are entering a flashback or dissociative state.
Things Not To Say To Someone With Ptsd
Some people want you to heal quickly. When a traumatic event occurs in your life, those around you often gather to support you and make sure you feel loved and cared for they tell you they understand how frightening the experience must have been, about how they dont even know what they would do in your situation.
But then days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months sometimes end up turning into years. And the longer youre afraid because of what happened to you, the less people tend to support you, because the may believe youre over-reacting or just trying to seek attention.
The last thing those of us with post-traumatic stress disorder want is attention the first thing we want is support, the feeling of landing on something solid after falling so far down the rabbit hole we think we may have traveled father than Alice in Alice in Wonderland.
If you have a loved one in your life with post-traumatic stress disorder, here is a list of things not to say to them, as well as an alternative to use instead:
What not to say: It wasnt even life-threatening. Alternative: I know youre scared because of it, but youre safe now.
What not to say: People have been through worse. Alternative: You can get through this hardship.
What not to say: Stop over-reacting. Alternative: I understand youre scared, but Im going to be right here next to you the whole time so that nothing happens. Lets do this.
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Remember To Also Take Care Of You
When youre caring for someone with complex PTSD, their distress can quickly become your distress if you dont maintain perspective and boundaries and if you dont have adequate support yourself. Yes, taking care of yourself ensures that you are in the best position to care for your child, but its important to take care of yourself for your own sake. And only in this way do you set an example for your adult child of how to exercise dedicated compassion and self-care.
Safeguard your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. If you are not getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, or doing the things that you used to enjoy doing, it may be time to seek some family or professional support. You can find occasional respite and build a critical and empowering support system for yourself in the process. Meanwhile, as you practice good listening and cultivate greater awareness of your childs experiences, you can be alert to your own experiences and necessary boundaries. Draw a line at taking personally what your loved one is going through and how they are expressing it. Take responsibility for your own experience and for being a receptive and compassionate advocate.
Anticipate And Manage Triggers
A trigger can be anythinga place, person, situation, or thingthat reminds the person of the trauma and set off their PTSD. Sometimes, a trigger is obvious, while others may take time to understand and identify. Triggers dont necessarily have to be external. Internal sensations and feelings can also trigger PTSD symptoms.
You should ask your friend or loved one about things theyve done in the past to respond to triggers that helped or something that didnt help. You can come up with a game plan together for how youll react to these in the future.
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Things I Learned From Dating Someone With Ptsd
One lesson: Caring for yourself is essential.
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
Theres nothing that can make you feel as powerless as living with a partner with post-traumatic stress disorder .
For three years, I was in a relationship with a man who experienced PTSD symptoms daily. My ex, D., was a decorated combat veteran who served in Afghanistan three times. The toll it took on his soul was heartbreaking.
His flashbacks and dreams of the past drove him to be hypervigilant, fear strangers, and fend off sleep to avoid nightmares.
Being the partner of someone who has PTSD can be challenging and frustrating for many reasons. You want to take away their pain, but youre also dealing with your own guilt at needing to care for yourself, too.
You want to have all the answers, but you often have to come to grips with the reality that this is a condition that cant be loved out of someone.
That said, understanding the disorder can help make it easier for both you and your partner to communicate and set healthy boundaries.
I spent years trying to understand how PTSD affected my partner, and, ultimately, had to walk away from our relationship. Heres what I learned.
Deal With Anger And Volatility
PTSD often leads to challenges when managing impulses and emotions, which might manifest in your loved one as moodiness, extreme irritability, or explosions of rage. A person dealing with PTSD lives in a constant state of emotional and physical stress. Since they experience sleep troubles like insomnia, it means theyre constantly on edge and exhausted, increasing the likelihood theyll overreact to daily stressors.
For many of those with PTSD, anger might also be a mask for other feelings like helplessness, guilt, or grief. Anger allows them to feel powerful instead of vulnerable and weak. Others might suppress their anger until it erupts at a time you least expect. You should watch for signs that your loved one is angry and try to remain calm. Try giving them personal space and ask how you can help. Anger is a healthy emotion, but chronic anger spirals can have adverse consequences.
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Educate Yourself On Ptsd
This condition tends to be misunderstood, and theres often a stigma attached to it. If you have a friend who is struggling with PTSD, start by learning about it. Learn not only the symptoms but also learn about how it can make people feel and the emotional experience that can come with PTSD.
Learning about PTSD and gaining PTSD education can help you be more understanding and empathetic, and can also clear up misconceptions you might have.
When you learn more about PTSD, youll see that most peoples experiences arent like what you see in popular culture. The symptoms and the effects of PTSD can be more subtle and less overt, but no less difficult for the person experiencing them.
People With Ptsd Often Feel Unlovable
D. is beautiful inside and out. Not only is he strikingly handsome, he is smart, caring, and compassionate. But he didnt feel he was deserving of love, or even remotely loveable.
Traumatic experiences, in addition to being scary and impacting our sense of safety, very often have a direct effect on our cognition, says Irina Wen, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Health.
Usually those effects are negative. As a result, the patient might start feeling undeserving and unlovable, or that the world is a dangerous place and people should not be trusted, she explains.
Over time, these negative thoughts become generalized so that negativity permeates all aspects of life. They can also carry over into a relationship.
D. would often ask me what I saw in him, how I could love him. This deep insecurity shaped how I treated him, with more reassurances without prompting.
D. needed a lot of time and attention from me. Because he had lost so much in his life, he had an almost controlling grip on me, from needing to know every detail of my whereabouts and having meltdowns when the plan changed last minute, to expecting me to be loyal to him above my own parents, even when I felt he didnt always deserve it.
In believing that he was unlovable, D. also created scenarios that cast him as such. When he was angry, hed express it by taking horrific jabs at me.
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Ptsd In Children And Teenagers
Older children and teenagers experience similar problems to adults when they develop PTSD. Younger children can express distress in a different way. For example, they may re-live the traumatic event through repetitive play rather than having unwanted memories of the event during the day. Many children have frightening dreams without recognisable content rather than nightmares that replay the traumatic event. Children may also lose interest in play, become socially withdrawn, or have extreme temper tantrums.
About one third of children who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Other problems that can develop alongside PTSD include anxiety or depression, defiant behaviour, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and in teenagers and young adults, suicidal thoughts and alcohol or drug use.
Encourage Them To Seek Treatment
Its beyond your control to make someone seek treatment. If they are ready or are considering treatment, you can encourage them along the way, however.
Research some of the treatment options available for PTSD. Look for treatment providers and programs that specialize in PTSD. Explore the benefits of treatment and, when your friend is ready, share what you come up with.
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How To Diagnose Ptsd
The first step in diagnosing trauma is making an appointment with a doctor, preferably someone trained in mental health disorders. The doctor will talk with the patient to determine their state of mind. The practitioner will have to determine whether the prerequisite symptoms for PTSD are present before deciding how to proceed. For a diagnosis of PTSD, the patient must have experienced the following for at least one month:
- At least one event in which they re-experience symptoms
- At least three avoidance symptoms
- At least two hyperarousal symptoms
- Symptoms that interfere with daily life activities
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Understanding Ptsd And Its Symptoms
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Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that can affect someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Traumatic events, such as a life-or-death situation like an assault or a tour of duty during wartime, can be emotionally and mentally debilitating and cause those who experience this kind of trauma to suffer from severe anxiety, depression, and other symptoms. Some who suffer from PTSD are able to recover and overcome their condition, while others suffer from PTSD for years or the rest of their lives.
Its important to understand the symptoms of PTSD in the event that someone you know is suffering from this condition. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , PTSD is marked by depression and severe anxiety but can come with behavioral, psychological, and physical symptoms, including:
- Agitation and irritability.
- Emotional detachment.
- Social isolation.
In extreme cases, those who suffer from PTSD may have self-destructive behaviors and symptoms, such as self-medication with drugs or alcohol, suicidal thoughts, or explicit actions. No matter the severity of someones PTSD, though, you can offer support and help in a variety of ways.
Tip : Deal With Volatility And Anger
PTSD can lead to difficulties managing emotions and impulses. In your loved one, this may manifest as extreme irritability, moodiness, or explosions of rage.
People suffering from PTSD live in a constant state of physical and emotional stress. Since they usually have trouble sleeping, it means theyre constantly exhausted, on edge, and physically strung outincreasing the likelihood that theyll overreact to day-to-day stressors.
For many people with PTSD, anger can also be a cover for other feelings such as grief, helplessness, or guilt. Anger makes them feel powerful, instead of weak and vulnerable. Others try to suppress their anger until it erupts when you least expect it.
Watch for signs that your loved one is angry, such as clenching jaw or fists, talking louder, or getting agitated. Take steps to defuse the situation as soon as you see the initial warning signs.
Try to remain calm. During an emotional outburst, try your best to stay calm. This will communicate to your loved one that you are safe, and prevent the situation from escalating.
Give the person space. Avoid crowding or grabbing the person. This can make a traumatized person feel threatened.
Ask how you can help. For example: What can I do to help you right now? You can also suggest a time out or change of scenery.
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How To Overcome And Cure Ptsd
There are many different scenarios that can lead a person to experience PTSD . As a person who has had to deal with PTSD and knows about the extreme fight or flight response and adrenaline that accompanies this severe disorder, I know how painful it can be to deal with. Not everyone with the disorder will overcome the severity of symptoms that they experience, but after putting up with the rapid-thinking, extreme sense of fear, flashbacks, and hyperarousal for years, part of you will want to move on.
If you are ready to acknowledge that part of your spirit is ready to move on to a state of living free of fear and free of this fight or flight response, this is when you know you are ready to attempt to deal with PTSD. For me, I honestly thought I was going to live in a state of fear for the rest of my existence. In totality, my experience with PTSD ended up lasting about 8 years. Mine was brought about by a severe life-threatening diagnosis at the doctor. Im not going to get into all the details, but lets just say that I became so scared, that I was literally hyperfocused on every breath, every heartbeat, and my senses were off the charts normal sounds were like sonic booms.