What Not To Say To Someone With Ptsd
1. Youll Get Over It
When it comes to depression, anxiety, or even burnout, telling someone to get over it is not the right thing to do. It can make them feel like they are not strong enough to cope with their disorder.
The same applies to someone with PTSD. Any trauma survivor deals with a pain that can seem unresolvable and when someone tells them to get over it, they can feel like they are the problem and they dont have what it takes to cope with their trauma. Avoid this statement at all costs.
2. Its Just a Shock, Thats All
Trauma can be shocking, yes but it can continue to shock the person-years after the initial experience. PTSD can be like the ripple effect and can keep affecting a person.
If someone is caught in a trigger, their mind will automatically react to the trauma which can be shocking and can make them avoid specific situations at all costs. PTSD is not just about being too shocked, keep this in mind and avoid saying this to someone with PTSD.
3. You Werent In Combat
Another thing you need to understand is that not only veterans and people whove been in combat experience trauma and PTSD. PTSD is a disorder that can affect anyone, regardless of their trauma and experience.
There is no greater trauma than PTSD and saying this statement is only disregarding your loved ones trauma which is not the right thing to do.
4. You Need To Let It Go
5. Others Experiences Are Worse
6. Your Experiences Are Irrational
8. It Couldve Been Worse
Identify & Learn Their Triggers
One of the symptoms of PTSD involves an intense emotional response to specific internal and external cues, known as triggers. These emotional responses may appear random to others, and often, even the person with PTSD has trouble identifying their own triggers.
In certain cases, the trigger will be obvious due to the persons response, but it may also take some time to identify more subtle triggers. Paying attention to your loved ones responses, communicating with them after their response has subdued, and learning more about their past trauma are all ways to provide support. It is important to figure out the types of situations that trigger these emotional responses, so you can be better prepared to help your friend or loved one in those situations.
How Many People Did You Kill
Many people with PTSD have feelings of guilt and shame. For example, a veteran may have survivor’s guilt for being alive when others didn’t or may feel they could have done something differently that would have saved a life. The guilt and shame are symptoms that can worsen when others probe for details.
“Be sympathetic and understanding, and if the person wants to talk, let them,” Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, MPH, a retired military psychiatrist and member of the American Psychiatric Association, told Health. “If not, don’t push them.”
For Mackenzie, a 24-year-old survivor of sexual assault, the wrong question is: “What do you mean you were raped?” When people question the experience, Mackenzie said, “they’re disqualifying the way I was assaulted.”
If the person is open to discussing the event, a better question is: “What was your experience like?” This way, a person with PTSD can talk about the details they are comfortable sharing. Or, you can always say, “I’m sorry this happened to you.”
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Mental Health Resources And Support For Ptsd
For help finding local treatment providers for PTSD, contact SAMHSAs National Helpine at 1-800-662-4357. The helpline is available 24/7. You can also search SAMHSAs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator tool.
Veterans can get help for PTSD and other mental health conditions by contacting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs . Support is available for veterans in crisis and those dealing with PTSD, homelessness, and adjusting to civilian life. Caregivers of veterans can also get education, training, and support on how to help a vet dealing with PTSD.
Additional Ptsd Support Resources
Along with treatment, consider encouraging your friend to join a local support group. There are many different kinds of support groups located in cities and towns across the country. Maybe attend with your friend, if they are comfortable with that.
Support groups for PTSD are a beneficial way to build a strong support network and interact with other people who also have this condition. It can feel good to have a safe space to share and listen among people who can empathize having PTSD.
There are support groups specifically for victims of childhood abuse, sexual trauma, and also for veterans. These groups are operated by private organizations, nonprofits and also governmental organizations.
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Understand & Remain Patient
Its difficult to understand what someone with PTSD is going through even when youre extremely close to them. You need to know that its OK if you cant fully relate to what your partner is going through at times, no matter how much you want to or how hard you try.
Still, patience and understanding are key elements in any successful relationship. This is true even when youre dating someone with PTSD from abuse or another cause. Let your partner know that youd like to be there for them, and that its important for you to understand them, but youre having trouble relating. Reassure them that you believe their feelings are valid and uniquely challenging.
If youre in an environment that triggers your partner, be ready with a Plan B that can pivot and change the energy of the situation. Tell them that youre fine with changing plans because the priority is ensuring theyre in a safe, trigger-free environment.
Why Didnt You Say Anything At That Time
Trauma survivors rarely talk about what theyve been through, especially immediately after the event. It is usually when people notice changes in their behavior that they begin to share their struggles.
On top of that, its challenging to be open about something as painful as sexual abuse or domestic violence. Especially when you know that people might not understand what youre going through, and the authorities might not always have the power to provide proper assistance.
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When You Love Someone With Complex Ptsd
This article gives a brief overview of some basics about Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and what you can do to support yourself as well as nurture your relationship when you love someone with Complex PTSD. You may be wondering if reading this article will be helpful to you.
- If your partner experienced significant trauma during childhood and you find yourself in awe of all that they are in spite of what they have been through, yet uncertain at times about how to provide the right kind of support, then this article is for you.
- If you recognize the wisdom within your partner that is derived from their experiences, but struggle to access your own wisdom when you see your partner suffering then this article is for you.
- Lastly, if you sometimes see your partner as someone who would benefit from healing work but, are not sure of the right place to start then this article is for you.
This article is about how to bring your best self to your relationship by forging one that is defined by security, consistency, and honesty as well as understanding the importance of your own self-care in cultivating these bonds.
There are two areas of human development that are impacted by Complex Trauma. When these areas are impacted it can result in CPTSD. They are:
Lets look at both more closely.
Arousal And Reactivity Symptoms Include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
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Im No Expert But I Think You Should
Nobody, regardless of the problems they are dealing with, wants to hear unsolicited advice. In fact, theres a good chance that someone whos going through a rough patch might have already tried what youre about to suggest.
For people with PTSD, an empathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on is significantly more valuable than any piece of expert advice you might have picked off the Internet. Just stop at Im no expert because youre definitely not. All you need to be is the person who can listen and understand.
Maybe You Need To Do More And Complain Less
Once again, we have a perfect example of an invalidating response resulting from a lack of empathy and understanding.
When youre dealing with something as emotionally draining as PTSD, theres little energy left for anything else. Its not that you dont want to do more its just that every attempt to get past your traumatic experience feels like a herculean task. Patience is a crucial factor during the recovery process, and just because someone is complaining doesnt mean they dont actively work on their problem.
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What Can You Expect When Dating Someone With Ptsd
Again, every situation is different, but in some cases dating someone with PTSD can take a real toll on a relationship, as there may be decreased intimacy, extreme clinginess, and/or isolation patterns. Someone with PTSD might have a hard time managing their emotions, as startled responses, extreme irritability, bouts of sadness and crying, panic attacks, and avoidance behaviors are all common ways of coping with the disorder, says psychologist , PsyD.
For some people, PTSD can even make you hesitant to go to specific places or avoid certain people, says Douglas.
Typically speaking, people who go through PTSD often detach from reality, whether its because theyre experiencing flashbacks or theyre just struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or trauma. And if your partner with PTSD experiences flashbacks or struggles with another similar symptom, this could reduce the amount of intimacy in a relationshippotentially creating conflict for the other partner who feels like their needs are not being met.
But while this all sounds very negative, the good news is that people with PTSD might be more in-tune with their emotions and triggers if they are in treatment, says Beecroft. This means theres a good chance they already have a healthy sense of self-awareness.
Cant You Talk To Someone About That
Well, yes. But its important to remember that not everyone has access to a mental health professional or adequate PTSD support or even online PTSD support groups. And also if someone has a good therapist, for example, or social support, it does not automatically mean that the issues and symptoms just disappear.
Those willing and able to face their traumas head-on are brave souls who are trying to work through the severe emotional pain that we cannot see, and like any other struggle, healing is a process. It takes time, and it takes energy, and as mentioned previously, those suffering from PTSD need to go at their own pace.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Its normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but in most people these improve naturally over a few weeks.
You should visit your GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or the symptoms are particularly troublesome.
Your GP will want to discuss your symptoms with you in as much detail as possible.
Theyll ask whether you have experienced a traumatic event in the recent or distant past and whether you have re-experienced the event through flashbacks or nightmares.
Your GP can refer you to mental health specialists if they feel youd benefit from treatment.
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Helping Someone With Ptsd Tip : Provide Social Support
Its common for people with PTSD to withdraw from family and friends. They may feel ashamed, not want to burden others, or believe that other people wont understand what theyre going through. While its important to respect your loved ones boundaries, your comfort and support can help them 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 best demonstrate your love and support for someone with PTSD isnt always easy. You cant force your loved one to get better, but you can play a major role in the healing process by simply spending time together.
Dont pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make them feel worse. Instead, let them know youre willing to listen when they want to talk, or just hang out when they dont. Comfort for someone with PTSD comes from feeling engaged and accepted by you, not necessarily from talking.
Do normal things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. Encourage your loved one to seek out friends, pursue hobbies that bring them pleasure, and participate in rhythmic exercise such as walking, running, swimming, or rock climbing. Take a fitness class together, go dancing, or set a regular lunch date with friends and family.
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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.
What Is The Best Treatment For People With Ptsd
It is essential in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder to seek specialist treatment. In particular, medication in combination with psychotherapy can be beneficial in treating trauma.
As far as the drug route is concerned, there are sedatives and antidepressants. In the short term, sedatives can help you feel less anxious and sleepy. However, if you want more than a few weeks, your body gets used to their effect, and they stop working and become addictive. On the other hand, antidepressants are usually given because of the depression that can develop after an injury, very different grief than usual. In cases of very severe symptoms, can also be administered.
As far as psychotherapy is concerned, its purpose is to reduce emotional and physical symptoms, improve daily life, and help the person better manage the causes of the disorder. The type of treatment depends on the severity of the signs and how soon they appear after the event.
The most well-known and appropriate approach to post-traumatic stress disorder is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Through it, the person learns to recognize and change the thinking that leads to disturbing emotions and behaviors. Patients learn to examine their beliefs and the feelings caused by the traumatic event.
Group psychotherapy is also an essential explanation in these cases. It allows the person to share their thoughts, fears, and feelings with other people who have experienced a traumatic event or other difficulties in life.
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How Might Loved Ones React
Partners, friends, or family members may feel hurt, cut off, or down because the survivor has not been able to get over the trauma. Loved ones may become angry or distant toward the survivor. They may feel pressured, tense, and controlled. The survivor’s symptoms can make a loved one feel like he or she is living in a war zone or in constant threat of danger. Living with someone who has PTSD can sometimes lead the partner to have some of the same feelings of having been through trauma.
In sum, a person who goes through a trauma may have certain common reactions. These reactions affect the people around the survivor. Family, friends, and others then react to how the survivor is behaving. This in turn comes back to affect the person who went through the trauma.
What You Can Do To Help Someone With Ptsd
Although post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may seem overwhelming and frightening, there are numerous ways you can help someone with PTSD. Keep the following in mind:
- Learn about PTSD triggers: Situations that remind your son or daughter of past trauma can trigger PTSD symptoms. For example, a person who experienced a car accident may have a panic attack when asked to get into a car. For how to deal with PTSD triggers, Gent said its important to understand that rationalizing or trying to logically or rationally eliminate the effects of the trigger or symptoms is ineffective, increases feelings of shame, and damages relationships. Instead, he advised you attune with your childs needs, sit with them during these intense moments, and use eye contact, safe touch, empathy, and words of affirmation and acceptance to create an emotional experience of unconditional love.
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