Caring For A Person With Ptsd
It can be hard for caregivers not to take it personally. They feel that their loved one doesnt love them anymore . The fun is gone, and in romantic relationships so is the intimacy. The family member with PTSD may not be comfortable going out in public or being touched. Caregivers can feel lonely and abandoned, and divorce is common in relationships where a partner has PTSD.
Watchwords for caregivers are self-care, limits, and realistic expectations. Its a balance: you want to help your loved one but you cant do that if youre impaired yourself. So, self-care is important. Figure out what you need to have a happy and healthy life and make an effort to keep those things in your life. Eat right, get exercise, take time off from caregiving, see friends. When youre healthier, youll be better able to help your family member to be healthier.
Set limits. You want to offer gentle support, but not tolerate things that are out of bounds for you in any other relationship, such as abusive language or actions, or heavy substance abuse. Couples therapy can be tremendously helpful when one member of the couple has PTSD.
Tip : Learn Ways To Cool Down Quickly
Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and anticipate your triggers, you can act quickly to deal with your anger before it spins out of control. There are many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check.
Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when youre angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.
Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
Get moving. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. Physical activity releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
Use your senses. You can use sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to quickly relieve stress and cool down. You might try listening to a favorite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savoring a cup of tea, or stroking a pet.
Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.
Give yourself a reality check
When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself:
Be Patient With Us And Yourself When Were Experiencing It
Dont take it personally. If youre reading this, you probably have a big heart, and you might feel frustrated when your love isnt enough to cure someones PTSD. So here are two things to remember: First, while many people can recover from PTSD, there is no cure, as theres no way to know what might trigger an episode of PTSD in the future. Second, this isnt about you. So be patient with your loved one, and with your own heart. Rita Zoey Chin, author of Let The Tornado Come
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Encourage Veterans To Join A Support Group
Even with a larger understanding of PTSD and how it impacts veterans, it may be difficult communicating with former service members about their mental health. Support groups can help veterans by providing them with a community of colleagues who have had similar experiences.
A health-related support group may fill a gap between medical treatment and the need for emotional support. A persons relationship with a doctor or other medical personnel may not provide adequate emotional support, and a persons family and friends may not understand the impact of a disease or treatment,;according to an article from the Mayo Clinic. A support group among people with shared experiences may function as a bridge between medical and emotional needs.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, provides;a helpful resource;on how to start a support group for veterans. There may be additional support groups available from veteran, religious, nonprofit and health organizations in the veterans community.;The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion offers directories and resources to help access support groups for certain health afflictions. Additionally, veterans can also join digital communities on platforms including Facebook, where they can share experiences with other veterans across the world who may be suffering from similar illnesses.
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.
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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.
Things To Remember As You Heal
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Limit screen time
- Don’t isolate yourself
Not following some of these tips can become a risk to your well-being and your overall recovery. The symptoms you are and have been experiencing can be overwhelming and debilitating. Eliminating or minimizing risks can help you find success in treatment and offer you a chance to experience a wonderful quality of life after going through a traumatic experience.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Ptsd
Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event
- unwanted memories of the event that keep coming back
- upsetting dreams or nightmares
- acting or feeling as though the event is happening again
- heartache and fear when reminded of the event
- feeling jumpy, startled, or nervous when something triggers memories of the event
- children may reenact what happened in their play or drawings
Avoidance of any reminders of the event
- avoiding thinking about or talking about the trauma
- avoiding activities, places, or people that are reminders of the event
- being unable to remember important parts of what happened
Negative thinking or mood since the event happened
- lasting worries and beliefs about people and the world being unsafe
- blaming oneself for the traumatic event
- lack of interest in participating in regular activities
- feelings of anger, shame, fear, or guilt about what happened
- feeling detached or estranged from people
- not able to have positive emotions
Lasting feelings of anxiety or physical reactions
- trouble falling or staying asleep
- feeling cranky, grouchy, or angry
- problems paying attention or focusing
- always being on the lookout for danger or warning signs
- easily startled
Signs of PTSD in teens are similar to those in adults. But PTSD in children can look a little different. Younger kids can show more fearful and regressive behaviors. They may reenact the trauma through play.
How Is Complex Ptsd Diagnosed
Complex PTSD is diagnosed by a mental health professional who will assess any symptoms you may have. Its also crucial for the doctor or therapist to understand your symptoms in detail.
Your treatment plan will depend on several factors, not just the diagnostic criteria.
Reflecting on the Diagnosis: You may be diagnosed with Complex PTSD if your doctor or therapist notes the following:
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Career Paths For Treating Ptsd
Because PTSD is fairly common, you could encounter individuals dealing with this disorder in many lines of work. First responders are often trained on how to handle those with PTSD. Nurses and assistants working in hospitals, especially on psych wards, often provide direct care to patients with PTSD. However, if you wish to be involved with counseling or performing research concerning the treatment of this mental condition, you should pursue a career in social work or psychology. You will need at least a masters degree, and you may find that you can do the most good with a Ph.D., Psy.D. or an M.D. with a specialization in psychiatry.
As you pursue your career to help those with PTSD, you can choose from jobs such as:
- Counseling psychologist
- Recreational therapist
- School counselor
There is still much research to be done in order for us to fully understand post-traumatic stress disorder. A career to help with PTSD doesnt come easily, but the reward of helping others live life more fully and healthily can be worth it.
Living With Someone Who Has Ptsd
When a partner, friend, or family member has post-traumatic stress disorder it affects you, too. PTSD isnt easy to live with and it can take a heavy toll on relationships and family life. You may be hurt by your loved ones distance and moodiness or struggling to understand their behaviorwhy they are less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel like youre walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. You may also have to take on a bigger share of household tasks and deal with the frustration of a loved one who wont open up. The symptoms of PTSD can even lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.
Its hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but its important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over their behavior. Your loved ones nervous system is stuck in a state of constant alert, making them continually feel vulnerable and unsafe, or having to relive the traumatic experience over and over. This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one cant simply choose to turn off.
With the right support from you and other family and friends, though, your loved ones nervous system can become unstuck. With these tips, you can help them to finally move on from the traumatic event and enable your life together to return to normal.
Create A Sense Of Safety
Stability is deeply important for veteransstruggling with PTSD. While you cannot always drop everything at a momentsnotice, you should take care to be a consistent, steady presence in your lovedones life.
Respect the veterans privacy and understand that everyone has their own timing for recovery. Treat everything your loved one tells you as entirely confidential.
Encourage Specialized PTSD Treatment
If your loved one has not already sought andenrolled in specialized treatment for PTSD in veterans, encourage them to doso. This can help minimize the symptoms of PTSD but also reduce the long-termrisk of developing additional mental-health conditions and symptoms.
Do some research into the different treatment options for PTSD in veterans. This will not only help you understand what your loved one is experiencing, but also help you understand how to communicate with them.
Some of the different PTSD treatments forveterans and military members include:
- Medication, such as anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants
- Counseling and talk therapy, either one-on-one or in the form of group therapy, which take many forms:
Self Care for Family & Loved Ones
How Is Ptsd Treated
Fortunately, through research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs , effective treatments have been developed to help people with PTSD. Research is also helping scientists better understand the condition and how it affects the brain and the rest of the body.
The maintreatments for people with PTSD are psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Everyone is different, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Some people may need to try different treatments to find what works best for their symptoms. Regardless of what treatment option you chose, it is important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health professional who is experienced with PTSD.
Many trauma survivors do not experience PTSD, and many people in intimate relationships, families, and friendships with individuals who have PTSD do not experience severe relational problems. People with PTSD can create and maintain successful intimate relationships by:
- Establishing a personal support network that will help the survivor cope with PTSD while he or she maintains or rebuilds family and friend relationships with dedication, perseverance, hard work, and commitment
- Sharing feelings honestly and openly with an attitude of respect and compassion
- Continually strengthening cooperative problem-solving and communication skills
- Including playfulness, spontaneity, relaxation, and mutual enjoyment in the relationship
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How To Help Someone With Ptsd
A relationship with someone who suffers from PTSD can be very challenging. Whether its your family member, relative, significant other, or friend who is coping with PTSD, youre essentially coping with the disorder, too. Youre not alone, though, and there are ways you can help your loved one on their path to healing. From simply being a supportive listener to actively taking part in a healing plan for PTSD through a licensed therapist, this guide offers some tips that show you how you can help someone with PTSD.
What Are The Effects Of Ptsd
Whether caused by experiences during military service, abuse as a child, being the victim of assault as an adult, or as a side effect of jobs that deal with trauma, the effects can be lifelong. Its a medical problem, not a weakness. Adrenaline levels stay elevated, causing anxiety, irritability, and hypervigilance . People with PTSD may become snappy and even physically aggressive. Little, everyday sounds may make the person jump. The ability to feel positive emotions like love and happiness is diminished, and people with PTSD may drink or use drugs to avoid painful feelings and memories. People with severe PTSD may isolate themselves, lashing out and showing little affection toward people they care about, and who care for them. Conflict with family members and coworkers is common.
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A Warm Welcome To The Ptsd Association Of Canada
We are a non-profit organization dedicated to educating those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals, as well as bringing together;society at large to form an ocean of compassion, awareness, knowledge and tools necessary for recovery.
Find Healthy Ways To Socialize And Collaborate With Veterans
There are many ways that friends and family can help veterans suffering from PTSD heal by socializing and collaborating with them.
When moving to a new base or post, the military helps military personnel and families adjust. This structure is often not automatically in place when someone separates from the military. The veteran and their family may have to find new ways to join or create a social community,;according to a help sheet from the VAs Mental Health Services department.
As veterans adjust to civilian life, friends and family can help by finding and participating in activities with their loved one. This can include helping veterans in their pursuit of a new hobby or activity or introducing veterans to new social or peer groups.
PTSD is a challenging disorder that can impair the quality of life for many veterans. But with these tools and resources, both veterans and their loved ones can find ways to address PTSD and help former service members live healthy and fulfilling lives.
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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