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How To Deal With Someone With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Love Isnt Always Enough

What Is C-PTSD? (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Many people who have relationships with someone with PTSD assume the role of caretaker. At least, this was the case with me.

I wanted to be the one person who didnt abandon D. I wanted to show him love can conquer all and that, with the right person, love could help him reinforce and reinstate a healthy lifestyle.

As heartbreaking as it is to admit, love often doesnt conquer all. This realization came in waves over the three years we were together, mixed with intense feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

Its an illusion, this idea that we can save people, Wen says. Its ultimately their responsibility as an adult to seek help, or to ask for help, even if it isnt their fault that they experienced trauma. We cannot make anyone take the help.

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.

How To Help Someone With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

December 22, 2018 by phillyfamilylife

When someone suffers from PTSD, they can experience restless sleep, anxiety attacks, and depression. PTSD is also associated with isolationist behavior and emotional detachment. For friends, family, and romantic partners, it can be difficult to know how to help a loved one with post traumatic stress disorder.

It can be especially difficult if you knew this person before the onset of their PTSD symptoms. It is important to acknowledge that it is normal to feel discouraged, frustrated, or scared when witnessing the toll of PTSD in your loved ones life. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on PTSD and remember to take care of your own mental and emotional health as well.

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How Can I Help A Loved One

When someone is diagnosed with PTSD, loved ones can also experience a lot of difficulties. You may feel guilty or angry about the trauma itselfthen, on top of those feelings, experience difficulties around PTSD. You may feel like your loved one is a different person, worry that things will never be normal, or wonder what will happen in the future. Here are some tips to help you cope:

With support, people can recover from PTSD and the effects of trauma. Recovery is good for the entire family, especially for young people who are still learning how to interact with the world. A loved ones recovery is a chance for everyone to learn the skills that support wellness.

Tip : Be A Good Listener


While you shouldnt push a person with PTSD to talk, if they do choose to share, try to listen without expectations or judgments. Make it clear that youre interested and that you care, but dont worry about giving advice. Its the act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say.

A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on. Instead, offer to talk as many times as they need.

Some of the things your loved one tells you might be very hard to listen to. Its okay to dislike what you hear, but its important to respect their feelings and reactions. If you come across as disapproving, horrified, or judgmental, they are unlikely to open up to you again.

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Where To Get Help

  • Your doctor
  • Mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, with experience in treatment of PTSD
  • Community health centre
  • Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2013, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. More information here.

Ptsd Symptoms In Children

In children especially very young children the symptoms of PTSD can differ from those of adults and may include:

  • Fear of being separated from their parent.
  • Losing previously-acquired skills .
  • Sleep problems and nightmares.
  • Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated.
  • New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma .
  • Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings.
  • Aches and pains with no apparent cause.
  • Irritability and aggression.

Do you have PTSD?

If you answer yes to three or more of the questions below, you may have PTSD and its worthwhile to visit a qualified mental health professional.

  • Have you witnessed or experienced a traumatic, life- threatening event?
  • Did this experience make you feel intensely afraid, horrified, or helpless?
  • Do you have trouble getting the event out of your mind?
  • Do you startle more easily and feel more irritable or angry than you did before the event?
  • Do you go out of your way to avoid activities, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event?
  • Do you have more trouble falling asleep or concentrating than you did before the event?
  • Have your symptoms lasted for more than a month?
  • Is your distress making it hard for you to work or function normally?

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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

Treatment For Children And Teenagers With Ptsd

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder How To Cope | Psych2Go

For children and teenagers who are struggling to recover after a traumatic event, the recommended treatment is trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy . This treatment involves:

  • learning about the type of traumatic event experienced and common reactions to trauma
  • teaching how to relax and manage anxiety
  • helping to create a coherent story of the traumatic event, and correct any unhelpful beliefs about the event such as self-blame
  • gradual exposure to trauma-related objects or situations that are feared or avoided
  • helping to get back into everyday activities.

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S You Can Take To Help Someone With Ptsd

You can take steps to help someone with PTSD. Learn about the disorder so you can relate to what your loved one is going through and know what to expect. Talk to your loved one, and acknowledge spoken feelings. Encourage treatment as its paramount for recovery. Invite your loved one to accompany you for a walk or some other peaceful activity. Its good for the person to rejoin the world. Show your support in all ways, and above all, be patient.

People who suffer from PTSD feel like theyve lost control. Taking an active role in your loved ones recovery can help to empower them. One good practice is to focus on repairing the rift the trauma left behind. Encourage your loved one to spend time with family and friends and to leave the house for a little while each day. You might advise becoming involved in PTSD awareness as a step toward empowerment. The smallest action can help a person regain control.

Common Symptoms Of Ptsd

In general, the symptoms fall into three main categories: intrusive, arousal and avoidance. They generally follow the cycle shown in the diagram below.


Reproduced from “PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers” article, with permission from, an international non-profit organization for survivors of trauma and victimization.


Not everyone will experience every type of symptom, and sometimes these symptoms do not appear in the order shown above.

Intrusive: people with PTSD often experience flashbacks and nightmares about their trauma. These intrusive thoughts can be triggered by situations or conversations that remind them of the event, and make them feel as if they are reliving it.

Arousal: people with PTSD may feel a heightened state of tension or alarm, called “hyperarousal.” This manifests itself in symptoms such as insomnia, an inability to concentrate, persistent fear, or being easily startled.

Avoidance: people with PTSD may try to shut out their feelings about their trauma. They shun the people, places or situations that remind them of their ordeal. They may lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy. They might also feel depressed, guilty or worried. It’s common for them to feel emotionally numb and cut off from their friends and family.

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What Can I Do About It

Many people feel a lot of guilt or shame around PTSD because were often told that we should just get over difficult experiences. Others may feel embarrassed talking with others. Some people even feel like its somehow their own fault. Trauma is hurtful. If you experience problems in your life related to trauma, its important to take your feelings seriously and talk to a health care professional.

Avoiding Situations That Remind You Of The Event


You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.

  • A person who was in an earthquake may avoid watching television shows or movies in which there are earthquakes.
  • A person who was robbed at gunpoint while ordering at a hamburger drive-in may avoid fast-food restaurants.
  • Some people may keep very busy or avoid seeking help. This keeps them from having to think or talk about the event.

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Talking To Your Loved One About Ptsd Triggers

Ask your loved one about things theyve done in the past to respond to a trigger that seemed to help . Then come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future.

Decide with your loved one how you should respond when they have a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. Youll also be in a much better position to help your loved one calm down.

How to help someone having a flashback or panic attack

During a flashback, people often feel a sense of disassociation, as if theyre detached from their own body. Anything you can do to ground them will help.

  • Tell your loved one theyre having a flashback and that even though it feels real, the event is not actually happening again.
  • Help remind them of their surroundings .
  • Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths .
  • Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them.
  • Ask before you touch them. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make them feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence.

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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Eye Movement Desensitisation And Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing is a psychological treatment thats been found to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

It involves recalling the traumatic incident in detail while making eye movements, usually by following the movement of your therapists finger.;

Other methods;may include;the therapist tapping their finger or playing a tone.

Its not clear exactly how EMDR works,;but it may help you change the negative way you think about a traumatic experience.

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Tip : Reach Out To Others For Support

How To Handle Someone Dealing With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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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Coping After A Traumatic Event

A sudden illness, an accident or an assault, or a natural disaster;- these are all traumatic experiences which can upset and distress us. They arouse powerful and disturbing feelings in us which usually settle in time, without any professional help.

  • you have been through a traumatic experience and want to understand more about how you are feeling
  • you know someone who has been through a traumatic experience, and want to get a better idea of how they might be feeling.
  • It describes the kind of feelings that people have after a trauma, what to expect as time goes on, and mentions some ways of coping and coming to terms with what has happened.

A traumatic event occurs when a person is in a situation where there is a risk of harm or danger to themselves or other people. Situations like this are usually frightening or cause a lot of stress. In such situations, people feel helpless.

Ways To Cope With Symptoms Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder can be a very debilitating disorder. In fact, many cases of PTSD require post traumatic stress disorder treatment at a PTSD treatment center. Symptoms of this condition include sleep loss, excessive worry, drug abuse , and loneliness. How can you overcome this disorder? The following are 10 steps used to manage post traumatic stress disorder.

  • Talk with your doctor about your concerns.
  • After asking your doctor about this disorder, learn everything you can about it.
  • Accept the fact that you have post traumatic stress disorder. Realize that you will experience many ups and downs in life and that healing takes time.
  • Tell your family members and friends about your condition. Explain to them the symptoms and help them to better understand what you are dealing with.
  • Find someone you can trust to help you through your disorder. This person should not be judgmental, should be willing to listen to you, and should be there to offer support in times of need.
  • Take the time to exercise and eat healthy foods. These two necessities give you energy and encourage the health of your body. Also, exercise is a natural stress reliever.
  • Dont isolate yourself. Spend time with family and friends and join in on group activities.
  • Seek out therapy. Regardless of the severity of your condition, individual and group therapy types will benefit you. Therapists specializing in post traumatic stress disorder are typically most effective.
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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.

    Emotional And Psychological Trauma

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Ptsd Signs And Symptoms ...

    If youve experienced an extremely stressful eventor series of eventsthats left you feeling helpless and emotionally out of control, you may have been traumatized. Psychological trauma often has its roots in childhood, but any event that shatters your sense of safety can leave you feeling traumatized, whether its an accident, injury, the sudden death of a loved one, bullying, domestic abuse, or a deeply humiliating experience. Whether the trauma happened years ago or yesterday, you can get over the pain, feel safe again, and move on with your life.

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    Reasons Why Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Is Helpful

    While post traumatic stress disorder may seem to be a challenging disorder, many people who have it never seek out PTSD treatment. Many times this occurs because people are afraid they will not be supported in their attempt at recovery or afraid that they will be looked upon as weak.

    Seeking treatment for post traumatic stress disorder however, has far more positive effects than negative ones. Also, the earlier PTSD treatment is begun, the better the chance of a full recovery. Benefits of post traumatic stress disorder treatment include:

    • Prevention of further health problems.
    • Better family life.
    • Reduction of the symptoms of PTSD.
    • Discovery of mental health problems.
    • Improved relationships with friends.

    If you or your loved one is in need of post traumatic stress disorder treatment, call an available PTSD treatment facility today. Many different forms of therapy are available at these post traumatic stress disorder treatment centers, including group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Therapies and programs do however differ according to the PTSD treatment center.

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