Can Ptsd Affect Your Relationships
Remember: You didnt decide to have PTSD or to have it impact your relationships. But PTSD symptoms can affect the way you interact with others, even if youre not always aware of it.
For instance, PTSD might make it hard to communicate, which can make you feel anxious about relationship-building experiences.
Both personal and professional relationships can be affected by PTSD.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 5 to 10% of individuals with PTSD might face challenges in their relationships involving:
Family Involvement In Treatment
In addition to a patient receiving medication and/or psychotherapy, it is helpful to have family members involved. Family members should be taught to recognize the symptoms of PTSD so they can understand what is happening to their loved one. They need to know that PTSD is a treatable condition so that they can lend support to relatives by reaching out and providing encouragement.
While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for those living with PTSD, many treatments have been successful in helping people live with fewer symptomsallowing them to live healthier, happier lives.
Favorite Online Support Networks
While still a relatively new support system, the ADAAs online group has at least 40,000 subscribers and counting. This free peer-to-peer support groups is exclusively online, so you can still connect with others going through similar struggles with PTSD without the added stress of making a meeting at a specific time.
The Mighty is known for its personal stories about chronic illnesses, disabilities, and mental illnesses, but did you know you can also engage within the community? Bookmark the PTSD page for inspirational stories, and click on âPost a Thought or Ask a Question for support.
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Withdrawal Leading To Detachment & Avoidance
The trauma survivor in your relationship may withdraw from you and from themselves. Often, their brain may feel disconnected from their body because the trauma feels like too much to handle.7 As a result, the person with PTSD may feel shame, embarrassed that theyre unable to cope with their feelings, or feel out of control over their own behaviors.5
Unexpected Signs You Have High
When most people think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder , they envision debilitating anxiety and depression that seems apparent from the outside. But some people exhibit signs of high-functioning PTSD, and they might not be as obvious as you thought. Some people can experience PTSD and still manage to get through their day-to-day lives, but that doesnât mean their symptoms donât deserve to be looked at or that they have to live with those emotional hurdles forever.
âWhat many donÃ¢t realize is that PTSD is not a direct result of trauma,âJohn Hamilton, LMFT, LADC and Chief Clinical Outreach Officer at Mountainside Treatment Center, tells Bustle. âItÃ¢s not just the experience that results in PTSD, but how the person responds to that experience internally. It depends on how the person processes and reacts to the traumatic event. A lot of times, an individual will disconnect from themselves and have a hard time being present as a result. An individual with high-functioning PTSD is someone who struggles with the symptoms of this mental illness, but not to the extent where it interferes with everyday activities and relationships.â
The first step to getting the help you need is recognizing that you might be a high-functioning person living with PTSD. Discussing these symptoms with your therapist can help you get a diagnosis and figure out the best forms of treatment. Here are seven unexpected signs you have high-functioning PTSD, according to experts.
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Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a technique that may help people with PTSD or complex PTSD.
After preparation and practice, the therapist will ask the person to recall the traumatic memory. The therapist will move a finger from side to side, and the person will follow the movement with their eyes.
When effective, this process helps to desensitize the person to the trauma so that they can eventually recall the memory without having a strong adverse reaction to it.
EMDR is controversial because the exact mechanism by which it works is unclear.
However, several guidelines, including those of the American Psychological Association, recommend EMDR as a treatment for PTSD under certain conditions.
They caution that confirming the effectiveness of EMDR for trauma will require more research.
How Can Parents Help
If your child has been through trauma, here are things you can do:
- Help your child feel safe. They may need extra time, comfort, and care from you for a while.
- Help your child relax. Invite them to take a few slow breaths with you. Breathe in while you count to 3. Breathe out while you count to 5.
- Do things together that you enjoy. Trauma can make it harder to feel the positive emotions that naturally help kids recharge. Play, laugh, enjoy nature, make music or art, cook. These activities can reduce stress and build your childs resilience.
- Reassure your child. Let them know they will get through this. And that you are there to help.
- Let your childs doctor know what your child has been through. Get a referral to a mental health professional .
- Tell your childs teacher that your child went through a trauma. Kids with PTSD may have more trouble focusing on schoolwork. Ask for your child to have extra help or more time to do schoolwork if they need it for a while.
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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.
How Ptsd Affects The Brain
If youre experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder , its important to understand how the different parts of your brain function. Post-traumatic stress is a normal response to traumatic events. However, PTSD is a more serious condition that impacts brain function, and it often results from traumas experienced during combat, disasters, or violence.
Your brain is equipped with an alarm system that normally helps ensure your survival. With PTSD, this system becomes overly sensitive and triggers easily. In turn, the parts of your brain responsible for thinking and memory stop functioning properly. When this occurs, its hard to separate safe events happening now from dangerous events that happened in the past.
Over the past 40 years, scientific methods of neuroimaging have enabled scientists to see that PTSD causes distinct biological changes in your brain. Not everybody with PTSD has exactly the same symptoms or the same brain changes, but there are observable patterns that can be understood and treated.
The diagram shows a cross-section of the brain parts discussed here.
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What Is Ptsd Symptoms Causes Diagnosis And Treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder happens when some individuals have a certain reaction to witnessing or experiencing a shocking or upsetting event, including an injury or death on the battlefield, an instance of sexual assault, a school shooting, a natural disaster, or a car accident, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs .
That experience doesnt necessarily have to be direct first responders and medics, for example, may develop PTSD after witnessing another person face a traumatic event, as noted in previous research.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, the event that triggered the trauma has to have felt threatening to your life or well-being, says Michele Pole, PhD, clinic director at West Chester Universitys department of Community Mental Health Services in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Unwanted And Intrusive Memories
When memories seem to turn against us, they can be traumatic in their own right, especially when they are memories were trying to forget. These unwanted and intrusive memories may look like the following symptoms:
- Reliving traumatic events over and over or having flashbacks of the event
- Recurring memories of the event while waking or sleeping
- Upsetting nightmares
- Physical and/or emotional distress triggered by sights, sounds, and even smells that remind you of the traumatic event
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Common Reactions Of Family Members
Family members of a person with PTSD may experience the following:
You may feel sorry for your loved one’s suffering. This may help your loved one know that you sympathize with him or her. However, be careful that you are not treating him or her like a permanently disabled person. With help, he or she can feel better.
PTSD can make someone seem like a different person. If you believe your family member no longer has the traits you loved, it may be hard to feel good about them. The best way to avoid negative feelings is to educate yourself about PTSD. Even if your loved one refuses treatment, you will probably benefit from some support. If you care for a family member with PTSD also see Partners of Veterans with PTSD.
Avoidance is one of the symptoms of PTSD. Those with PTSD avoid situations and reminders of their trauma. As a family member, you may be avoiding the same things as your loved one. Or, you may be afraid of his or her reaction to certain cues. One possible solution is to do some social activities, but let your family member stay home if he or she wishes. However, he or she might be so afraid for your safety that you also can’t go out. If so, seek professional help.
This is common among family members when the person with PTSD causes feelings of pain or loss. When PTSD lasts for a long time, you may begin to lose hope that your family will ever “get back to normal.”
Anger and guilt
Negative Changes In Moods
Two or more symptoms for diagnosis
- Expressing negative beliefs about themselves or the world
- Feeling isolated
- Distorting the cause of the event to be self or others
- Persistently feeling fear, anger, guilt, or shame
- Inability to recall key parts of the event
- Inability to experience positive emotions
- Lessening interest or participation in usual activities
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Finding Support As You Navigate The Relationship
Dating someone with PTSD can be difficult. It can even be frustrating at times. Remember that post-traumatic stress disorder is a treatable mental health condition. It can be successfully managed in the long term, especially if you and your partner seek professional counseling, online therapy, PTSD treatment, and use goal-setting to anticipate and better-handle triggers as they occur.
Still, its vital to protect yourself. You shouldnt become so engaged with taking care of your PTSD partner that you neglect your own individual needs in a relationship. Be sure to consider your own desires, and dont hesitate to speak up about what you want. Above all, keep in mind that if, at any point, your partners PTSD symptoms feel too frequent, too intense, or otherwise too much to take, its OK for you to do what you need to in order to take care of yourself. However, if your partner is in danger, we recommend helping them get professional help, too.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h6161. Accessed February 5, 2022.
Kate Rosenblatt, MA, LPC, LMHC
Other Effects Of Ptsd
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you might also find that you have difficulty with some everyday aspects of your life, such as:
- looking after yourself
- remembering things and making decisions
- coping with change
- simply enjoying your leisure time.
If you drive you may have to tell the DVLA that you have PTSD. For more information on your right to drive, including when and how to contact the DVLA, see our legal pages on fitness to drive.
My behaviour changed and became erratic. I would alternate from wanting to shut myself away and not see or talk to anyone to going out to parties in the middle of the week and staying out late.
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Ptsds Effects On Family Friends
The physical and emotional effects of PTSD can impact how someone interacts with people in their lives. Intimacy issues, work issues, emotional difficulties, cognitive changes, physical problems, intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal are effects of PTSD that make life difficult for the person experiencing PTSD as well as family members, friends, and others.
Family and friends of someone experiencing PTSD sometimes find it difficult to know what to do for their loved one. Its common for family and friends to feel, among other things,
Impact Of Ptsd On Relationships And Day
PTSD can affect a personâs ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends. A person with PTSD can often seem uninterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories. They may stop them from participating in family life or ignore offers of help. This can lead to loved ones feeling shut out.
It is important to remember that these behaviours are part of the problem. People with PTSD need the support of family and friends but may not understand what is happening to them or think that they need help.
When PTSD goes on for some time, it is not unusual for people to experience other mental health problems at the same time. In fact, up to 80 per cent of people who have long-standing PTSD develop additional problems – most commonly depression, anxiety, and alcohol or other substance misuse. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or as a result of the effects of having PTSD.
What Is Ptsd And What Can We Do About It
Our society still faces a huge battle in understanding mental illnesses, even now with all of our advances in technology. In America alone, 43.8 million people suffer from a mental illness every year.
The most common mental illnesses are clinical depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, dementia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most people have heard of these disorders, if not suffer from one of them or know someone who does.
However, there is another type of mental illness that anyone is susceptible to at any time. We have no control over when and if we develop it, and it can completely change our lives and the lives of the people around us.
Were talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Many of us only have a vague understanding of what PTSD is, how it happens and how it affects people. When we think of PTSD we typically think of the soldier who has just returned home and cant re-adjust to civilian life.
However, PTSD can be caused by many things and affect absolutely anyone, not just soldiers in extreme situations. Lets take a deeper look at what PTSD is, what causes it, and what we can do to treat it and prevent it.
What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that comes as a result of a traumatic event. It can be a uniquely presenting disorder, as it may not show symptoms immediately, but may have a delayed onset. In some cases, a traumatic event will spark an immediate onset of symptoms. While the most well-known causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder include war, extreme violence, natural disasters, and fatal or extremely harmful accidents, these are not the only known causes of PTSD PTSD can develop as a result of any traumatic event, though violence is the most common cause.
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Possible Ptsd Treatment Approaches Include:
- Identifying the trauma and its effects
- Neutralizing the traumatic threat
- Positive activities
The sooner you get help from a doctor or mental health professional, the sooner you can start on the road to recovery.
S Of The Brain Impacted By Ptsd
Certain structures of the brain are closely related to some of the symptoms of PTSD. These structures include the amygdala and hippocampus several parts of the prefrontal cortex the mid-anterior cingulate cortex and the right inferior frontal gyrus.
PTSD causes the hyper-activation of some brain structures while other areas become hypoactive.
Both the amygdala and the mid-anterior cingulate cortex become over-stimulated when a person has PTSD. However, the hippocampus, right inferior frontal gyrus, ventromedial PFC, dorsolateral PFC, and orbitofrontal cortex all become hypoactive, some to the point of atrophy.
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What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.
PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as shell shock during the years of World War I and combat fatigue after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.
People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares they may feel sadness, fear or anger and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.