How Can I Find Help
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides the NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Helping Someone With Ptsd
This page provides suggestions and help on how to help rebuild the trust and safety between you both, along with information on how to help deal with flashbacks or panic attacks and anger that may result from PTSD.
TIPS FOR REBUILDING TRUST AND SAFETY
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages peoples ability to trust others and themselves.
Anything you can do to rebuild your loved ones sense of security will contribute to recovery. This means cultivating a safe environment, acting in a dependable and reassuring way, and stepping in to help when needed. But it also means finding ways to empower the person. Smothering someone with PTSD or doing things for them that theyre capable of doing for themselves is counterproductive. Better to build their confidence and self-trust by giving them more choices and control.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO INCREASE YOUR LOVED ONES SENSE OF SAFETY
ENCOURAGING AND SUPPORTING TREATMENT
Despite the importance of your love and support, it isnt always enough. Many people who have been traumatized need professional PTSD treatment. But bringing it up can be touchy. Think about how youd feel if someone suggested that you needed therapy.
HOW TO HELP IN THE MIDDLE OF A FLASHBACK OR PANIC ATTACK
TIPS FOR COPING WITH PTSD IN THE FAMILY
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Arousal And Reactivity Symptoms
- Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feeling irritable and having angry or aggressive outbursts
- Engaging in risky, reckless, or destructive behavior
Arousal symptoms are often presentthey can lead to feelings of stress and anger and may interfere with parts of daily life, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Ask How You Can Help Us Feel Safe
People with PTSD often dont feel safe. This is where you can draw on that big heart of yours. Because you have now asked your loved one questions about their fears, youve learned some things you can do to help them feel safe. For some people, its a hug. For others, its watching a funny movie. For others, its a bowl of ice cream or an impromptu dance party in the kitchen or a drive on a country road. Whatever it is, the point is not to try and fix people with PTSD but to instead let them know youre beside them, wherever the road goes. Chin
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Make An Effort To Understand The Condition
To understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling and know how best to help them, its important to learn everything you can about PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is recognized as a mental health disorder that affects the victims of sudden loss, abuse, assault, the near-death experiences of war, terrorist attacks, major accidents, and so much more.
The illness is characterized by extreme anxiety and worry, social exclusion, emotional disengagement, nightmares, and anger, which are usually triggered by situations that remind the affected person of their past trauma. These symptoms can lead to an eventual inability to work, a full change in personality, substance abuse, and weakening familial relationships.
While it can be easy to worry that youve done something wrong and take your loved ones changed behavior personally, you should understand that the victim cannot usually control his or her behavior when reminded of their trauma. Their central nervous system goes on high alert, causing their symptoms when they begin to feel defenseless or endangered.
In times of fight or flight, do your best not to take anything personally. PTSD is, admittedly, very taxing on relationships, and you may find your loved ones behavior distressing, but remember that the person struggling needs you to be your best self as they work through their issues. Rather than feeling like a burden, they need to see you as trustworthy and be able to place hope in your understanding of them.
How To Spot The Warning Signs Of Ptsd
As COVID-19 spreads across the country, thousands of brave men and women wage war against the virus on the front lines. The battle has left many of these responders with emotional scars that are hard to heal and many find it hard to reach out for help.
WATCH: VP Of The FDNY EMS Local 2507 Says Members Saw Some Of The Worst Things Weve Ever Seen With COVID-19 What often happens is there is a failure of the individual thats suffering to recognize that this has gone beyond just being tired, being irritable, being frustrated, and so they dont label this as something that needs attention, Dr. Phil points out. In the video above, Dr. Phil reviews the warning signs and red flags of PTSD to be aware of in someones behavior. On Mondays episode, Dr. Phil gives advice on how to help frontline workers break the stigma of being seen as weak or broken. Check here to see where you can watch.
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How To Identify And Cope With Your Ptsd Triggers
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
PTSD triggers may be all around you. Even though it may sometimes feel like PTSD symptoms come out-of-the-blue, PTSD symptoms rarely spontaneously occur.
Instead, whether you are aware of it not, PTSD symptoms are often triggered or cued by something in our internal or external environment.
Because certain thoughts, feelings, or situations can bring up uncomfortable PTSD symptoms, such as memories of a traumatic event or feelings of being on edge and anxious, one way of coping with these symptoms is by increasing your awareness of these triggers.
You can prevent or lessen the impact of certain PTSD symptoms by identifying what specific types of thoughts, feelings, and situations trigger them, and then, take steps to limit the occurrence or impact of those triggers.
When Were Having A Bad Day Know That Its Not Your Fault
I wish they understood that when Im struggling it has nothing to do with them. Like, if Im going through something because of my PTSD, its because of my PTSD, not them. I never want friends or family to feel like its their fault when Im struggling with anxiety or from other symptoms of my PTSD. Kayla Stevenson
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How To Recognize Ptsd
How to recognize PTSD without raising tensions is to look for avoidance symptoms, such as unreasonable guilt, fretfulness and depression. Observe if your loved one avoids the place, objects or events that pertain to the traumatic experience. Determine if a lack of enthusiasm for activities that were previously enjoyable is present. Also, be aware of hyperarousal symptoms. These can be outbursts of anger, sleep disturbances, tension or being easily startled.
Tip : Try Doing Normal Daily Activities With Them
Do normal things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. Encourage them to be more involved or engage in participating from a rhythmic exercise, going out with friends and family, and pursue hobbies and activities that they enjoy and can become pleasurable. Take a fitness class together, go dancing, or set a regular lunch date with friends and family.
Let your loved one take the lead, rather than telling him or her what to do. Everyone with PTSD is different but most people instinctively know what makes them feel calm and safe. Acknowledge the hints your friend or loved one is giving you as to how you can best provide support and companionship.
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Talking About The Trauma Can Be Important
- Allow the person to talk about what happened, even if they become upset. Just be calm yourself and listen carefully getting upset too doesnt help.
- Dont insist on talking if the person doesnt want to. They may need time to be alone with their thoughts. Tell them you are there to listen whenever they feel ready.
- Reassure them you care and want to understand as much as possible about what happened to them. They may say you cant possibly understand what they went through and shut you out. If they take this approach, they risk becoming isolated from their support networks. Be patient and see what else you can do to help.
- Try to make sure there is someone else they can talk to if they dont want to talk to you about it.
- If there are some difficult decisions to be made, talk about the situation with the person and help them to identify the different options. However, dont make the decision for them. Also, if it is only a short time after the traumatic event, suggest that it might be a good idea to wait a little longer before making a decision.
Where To Find Ptsd Treatment For A Friend Or Family Member
You can contact hospitals in your area or your doctor for advice. Check with local mental health facilities or support groups that can also supply you with information. University medical centers are good resources.
Were here 24/7 to help you. Please, dont hesitate to contact us at . Right now, its not too late to stop your loved ones illness from progressing call now.
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Ptsd Episodes: Flashbacks And Dissociation
The amygdala doesnt forget anything that it has deemed as dangerous and doesnt discern whether the threat is real or imagined. This plays a big role in untreated PTSD, especially when these symptoms occur:
- Flashbacks are a nightmarish and intense reliving of a traumatic event. Whether it is momentary or lasts a few minutes, hours, or even days, someone going through a flashback is unable to distinguish it from reality. Flashbacks are uncontrollable and are very vivid, likely evoking strong sensory memories associated with the trauma that was endured and the environment in which it happened.
- Dissociation occurs when a person feels separate or disconnected from their body and surroundings as though they are observing things from outside of themselves. This tends to occur automatically as a coping mechanism to manage traumatic memories and the emotions associated with them. Like flashbacks, dissociative episodes can be fleeting or last for a long time.
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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Tip : Make Them Feel You Are There For Them
When someone has PTSD is very common to withdraw socially from friends and family. According to the Helpguide.org, it is important to respect your loved ones boundaries, your comfort and support can help the person with PTSD overcome feelings of helplessness, grief, and despair. In fact, trauma experts believe that face-to-face support from others is the most important factor in PTSD recovery.
Knowing how to demonstrate that you are there for them, that you care and you love them is not always easy but it is not impossible, it requires patience and time. Forcing them to get better or to change their behavior wont work and you will end up pushing them further away, however, just being there for them and spending quality time together can make them feel supported and loved.
Tip : Anticipate And Manage Triggers
A trigger is anythinga person, place, thing, or situationthat reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers dont have to be external. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.
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Tip : Anticipate Their Triggers
Anticipating their triggers can help you to respond better to those situations where they have an episode. Triggers can be people, places or things that can emulate or bring back memories of the event.
Some triggers can become obvious after you have analyzed their behavior but others dont seem to have a relationship. Most of the common triggers can be crowded places, confined spaces, physical contact, physical constraints, funeral homes or hospitals.
Once you have learned and identified them, you can anticipate their needs and episodes, having an action plan to set in motion once it does happen or simply letting you react on time.
Impact Or Emergency Stage
This phase occurs immediately after the traumatic event. At this point, the affected individual is struggling to come to terms with the shock of what happened. He or she will be highly anxious, hypervigilant, and possibly struggling with guilt. Media depictions of PTSD largely feature characters who are suffering from this stage of PTSD. War veterans and abuse survivors who have just come back from battle or are in a police station immediately after an attack often come to mind.
What the media frequently does not show us, though, is that when treated by a mental health professional, the presentation of PTSD will change as the patient begins to recover.
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How Can I Help A Friend Or Relative Who Has Ptsd
If you know someone who may be experiencing PTSD, the most important thing you can do is to help that person get the right diagnosis and treatment. Some people may need help making an appointment with their health care provider others may benefit from having someone accompany them to their health care visits.
If a close friend or relative is diagnosed with PTSD, you can encourage them to follow their treatment plan. If their symptoms do not get better after 6 to 8 weeks, you can encourage them to talk to their health care provider. You also can:
- Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Learn about PTSD so you can understand what your friend is experiencing.
- Listen carefully. Pay attention to the persons feelings and the situations that may trigger PTSD symptoms.
How Do You Deal With Post
There are some techniques that can help you deal with Post-traumatic stress such as meditation, deep breathing techniques, massages or yoga. These can help you relax and ease the symptoms of PTSD. Alcohol and recreational drug intake should be avoided. Usually, if you are struggling to cope with traumatic experiencing then it is easy to self-medicate using alcohol or drugs but it will only make it worse.
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Please Dont Tell Us To Just Get Over It
I think its great if loved ones can to do their best to find that balance between allowing someone with PTSD to move through their symptoms, while also holding their hand to help them pick themselves back up. I can appreciate that its difficult to see someone you love suffer, but telling that person to get over it or shaming them for what theyre experiencing only makes the process harder for the person experiencing symptoms. Meeting them where they are, and saying things like, Ive got you, Let me help you breathe, or whatever resonates best for your loved one helps make those most challenging moments easier. Susannah Pitman