Talking To Someone With Ptsd
When talking to your loved one about PTSD, be clear and to the point. Stay positive, and dont forget to be a good listener. When your loved one speaks, repeat what you understand and ask questions when you need more information. Dont interrupt or argue, but instead voice your feelings clearly. Dont assume your loved one knows how you feel if you dont express it. PTSD is hard on everyone involved with the victim.
Help your loved one put feelings into words. Ask about specific feelings, and ask what you can do to help. Lastly, dont give advice unless your loved one requests it.
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How To Help Someone With Ptsd Symptoms
This condition develops when a person experiences a traumatic event, which results in that persons triggered fight or flight mode. This causes the system to get stuck in the overwhelmed state thats associated with trauma. In large part, its the stuck state and the over wired fight or flight system that contributes to these symptoms.
- Traumatic memories:;These come in the form of actual memories as well as bad dreams or even flashbacks. Physical symptoms, like panic attacks, headaches or heart palpitations can also accompany these memories.
- Changes in behavior:;The changes in the body and the brains physiology can result in behavior changes when a person has this condition. In this case, the symptoms of PTSD manifest as conditions, like insomnia, nightmares, hypervigilance, difficulty focusing and irrational, angry outbursts.
- Avoidance:;Its common for a person who is exhibiting the symptoms of PTSD to have issues with avoidance. The person may not want to talk about the event. Theyll distance themselves from the people and places that remind them of the event. Theyll try not to think about it.
Knowing what the symptoms of PTSD are can help you in your quest to help a friend or family member cope with PTSD. Knowledge is power in this case. Without this knowledge, its nearly impossible to implement any other PTSD remedies.
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Continue Your Daily Routine
Avoid letting your loved one hole up for too long. Try to help them stick to a routine similar to the one they followed before the trauma. Without being pushy or overbearing, please encourage them to spend time with friends and family and socialize in settings with no connection to the traumatic experience. Make sure they also pursue physical activity so their body can release those happiness-boosting endorphins.
Tip : Reach Out To Others For Support
PTSD can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But its important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. You dont have to talk about the trauma if you dont want to, but the caring support and companionship of others is vital to your recovery. Reach out to someone you can connect with for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen when you want to talk without judging, criticizing, or continually getting distracted. That person may be your significant other, a family member, a friend, or a professional therapist. Or you could try:
Volunteering your time or reaching out to a friend in need. This is not only a great way to connect to others, but can also help you reclaim your sense of control.
Joining a PTSD support group. This can help you feel less isolated and alone and also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery.
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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
Learn About The Options For Treatment
With the right tools and awareness, you can be a remarkable source of support when caring for someone with complex PTSD, but it is still a disorder that calls for professional guidance and treatment. Long-term residential treatment programs are the best option for a recovery path that brings clients back to the life they really want to live. In these settings, experts are trained to establish a nurturing environment and be receptive to clients particular needs and triggers so they can ensure the best potentials for recovery success.
In a long-term treatment setting, clients can heal trauma as they are ready. Just as they build trust with you and the home recovery environment, they have sufficient time and space to build trusting relationships with therapist and clinicians who can offer invaluable guidance, support, and tools along the way. The extended time in the treatment setting allows the trauma to unfold gradually and progressivelyunlike in short-term settings where surface layers of trauma and triggers may be resolved temporarily, but the roots of past pain remain.
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Tip : Find Healthier Ways To Express Your Anger
If youve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and theres something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. Learning how to resolve conflict in a positive way will help you strengthen your relationships rather than damaging them.
Always fight fair. Its okay to be upset at someone, but if you dont fight fair, the relationship will quickly break down. Fighting fair allows you to express your own needs while still respecting others.
Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than winning the argument, should always be your first priority. Respect the other person and their viewpoint.
Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, its easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if youre unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
Take five if things get too heated. If your anger starts to spiral out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down.
Clues That Theres More To Your Anger Than Meets The Eye
You have a hard time compromising. Is it hard for you to understand other peoples points of view, and even harder to concede a point? If you grew up in a family where anger was out of control, you may remember how the angry person got their way by being the loudest and most demanding. Compromising might bring up scary feelings of failure and vulnerability.
You view different opinions as a personal challenge. Do you believe that your way is always right and get angry when others disagree? If you have a strong need to be in control or a fragile ego, you may interpret other perspectives as a challenge to your authority, rather than simply a different way of looking at things.
You have trouble expressing emotions other than anger. Do you pride yourself on being tough and in control? Do you feel that emotions like fear, guilt, or shame dont apply to you? Everyone has those emotions so you may be using anger as a cover for them. If you are uncomfortable with different emotions, disconnected, or stuck on an angry one-note response to situations, its important to get back in touch with your feelings. HelpGuides free;Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can help.
Tip : Identify Your Triggers
Stressful events dont excuse anger, but understanding how these events affect you can help you take control of your environment and avoid unnecessary aggravation. Look at your regular routine and try to identify activities, times of day, people, places, or situations that trigger irritable or angry feelings.
Maybe you get into a fight every time you go out for drinks with a certain group of friends. Or maybe the traffic on your daily commute drives you crazy. When you identify your triggers, think about ways to either avoid them or view the situations differently so they dont make your blood boil.
Avoid Going Into Blanket
Soothing a PTSD sufferer with “there there, it’ll all be OK” is about as helpful as cracking an egg on their head. The Help Guide, which is an extremely good resource for PTSD-related information , says that behaving “blithely” is one of the worst things you can do for a person in flashback mode. Instead, try to draw them “back into the room”: remind them that it’s not real, try to get them to notice sensations or simple facts about where they really are, and don’t go near them without asking their direct permission, as they may be confused and hurt you.
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Communication Pitfalls To Avoid
- Give easy answers or blithely tell your loved one everything is going to be okay.
- Stop your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears.
- Offer unsolicited advice or tell your loved one what they should do.
- Blame all of your relationship or family problems on your loved ones PTSD.
- Invalidate, minimize, or deny your loved ones traumatic experience
- Give ultimatums or make threats or demands.
- Make your loved one feel weak because they arent coping as well as others.
- Tell your loved one they were lucky it wasnt worse.
- Take over with your own personal experiences or feelings.
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.
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Helping Someone With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
It can be hard to handle having a close friend or family member with post traumatic stress disorder . They may struggle with irritability, have problems sleeping at night, be unable to focus, feel depressed or act anxious most of the time. In fact, for some people the symptoms can be so severe that treatment at a certified post traumatic stress disorder treatment center may be necessary. PTSD treatment facilities have been shown to be very beneficial to the health and overall well-being of those with this disorder.
How can you deal with this situation? The following steps can serve as helpful tips for dealing with and loving someone with PTSD.
Learning To Cope With Ptsd
You must not get so wrapped up in your loved ones disorder that you neglect yourself. Dont feel guilty for not having all the answers; no one does. Remind yourself that you cant speed up the process of recovery as these things always take time. Make time for your family and remember all the good things in your life. Learning to cope with PTSD is equally important for your well-being. Keep in mind that in a given year, approximately 5.2 million people suffer from PTSD. That means almost as many caregivers are dealing were with the disorder. You and your loved one arent alone.
Talk to your family about concerns you might have. You need their support. Learn methods of relaxation, like meditation or yoga, that can help you take a break. Use positive activities as a distraction. Make an effort to spend time with people who arent connected to your loved ones trauma. Dont allow yourself to be suffocated by the PTSD.
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Remind Your Loved One: People Recover
Encourage them to find the right therapist.That is something that takes some effort. In order to recover from complex ptsd, its vital that your loved one receive competent trauma informed care. While therapists regularly encounter the survivors of trauma, most do not have much training in treating trauma.
Trauma treatment is a specialty that requires advanced clinical training. Having provided clinical supervision to Bay Area Therapists for over 15 years, I am completely unaware of any graduate school that provides even the most bare amount of trauma treatment training.
Its vital that your loved one with C-PTSD is in treatment with a trauma therapist who:
- Provides education to the patient about the nervous system and its role in developing trauma symptoms.
- Teaches emotional regulation skills
Let Them Talk About It
Think the best way to help somebody with PTSD is to avoid the topic and hope that makes it better? Nope. Common misconception; but it’s at the initiative of the PTSD sufferer to actually talk about it, and if they want to, your most valuable role is to listen and check in with them periodically about how the conversation is making them feel. If what they’re discussing is too heavy-going for you, that’s something to bring up; but do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad for talking about it.
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Dont Forget To Take Care Of Yourself Too
During the time that I was processing my trauma and trying to cope with the overwhelming feelings, emotions and unrelenting symptoms of PTSD, I felt unglued. Before I had learned skills to tolerate my distress, I was upset, angry, hurt and lived in what felt like a constant state of panic. I took anything my husband said personally and blew things way out of proportion. I lost my trust in the world, feeling raw and vulnerable, working hard to push him away. At the same time, I was terrified he would abandon me, needing constant reassurance that he wasnt going anywhere.
He was stunned and hurt and didnt how to be around me any longer. He didnt understand what was happening to me, and Im sure he felt helpless not knowing how to make things better, to fix it. He found a support group for loved ones of PTSD and started therapy to learn how to take care of himself. Its extremely important that our caregivers get what they need for their own emotional and physical wellbeing. Rose
Living With is a guide to navigating conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month, HuffPost Life will tackle very real issues people live with by offering different stories, advice and ways to connect with others who understand what its like. In June, were covering trauma and PTSD. Got an experience youd like to share? Email email@example.com.
Tips For Helping Someone With Ptsd
When it comes to helping someone with PTSD, it can feel overwhelming. It is a serious disorder that can have a significant impact on a persons life. Its not up to you as a friend or loved one to try and cure someone with PTSD or force them to get help.
What you can do is take positive steps to show them you care and that you support them. You can also encourage them to seek treatment or find online support through teletherapy, although its ultimately up to that person whether or not they do. Here are nine different ways you can help a loved one with PTSD.
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