Tips for Taking Care of Someone with PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition caused by a traumatic event. Those suffering from PTSD might be easily startled, have trouble sleeping, and display emotional outbursts of anger. If someone displays these symptoms after experiencing a traumatic event, you need to know what to do in order to help that person. Here are some tips for caring for someone who is suffering from PTSD.

Listen to Them

Learning to cope with a traumatic experience can be a very difficult process for someone that suffers from PTSD. It may take time before they are ready to speak about the event and, even then, it will be difficult. Rather than pushing the person to talk about the event, you should wait until they feel comfortable speaking about it. Part of the healing process will likely be talking about the event multiple times. You may be tempted to provide advice or tell them to get over it, but this is a mistake. It’s important to be empathetic and nonjudgmental when conversing about their experiences.

Offer Social Support

It’s common for those suffering from PTSD to withdraw from their loved ones. They could feel that nobody around them will understand the emotional state they are in or that they will be pitied and judged by others. Some may feel as though they would be a burden to their family and friends by sharing their experience. The best way for those suffering from PTSD to recover from these incidents is to be surrounded by those that care about them. Offering social support and showing that you care about them will allow them to feel less isolated, which has shown to positively impact the person suffering from a traumatic incident.

Create a Safe Surrounding

The traumatic event that causes PTSD may change the way in which the person suffering from the disorder sees the world. They may now feel that there is danger around every corner, which could cause them to stay home at all times. You can help someone with this by creating a structured schedule within a safe environment. Getting them to trust that there is no danger can be a long process but ultimately may result in them expanding where they are willing to go.

Plan for Triggers

There are a variety of things that could be triggers for the person, resulting in flashbacks, panic attacks, and nightmares. This can be a scary situation for the person that experienced the traumatic event and the person caring for them. If you can anticipate situations may cause these re-experiencing symptoms, you should do your best to avoid them. If you can’t anticipate triggers, you should have a plan in place that will allow you to help relieve the symptoms. You may be able to do this by telling them they’re having a flashback or showing them that they are in a safe place.


Seek Professional Treatment

There are a variety of ways that PTSD can be treated, including talk therapy and medications. Every case of PTSD is different, so no two people will be treated the same way. A professional with experience treating PTSD patients will be able to properly diagnose your loved one and determine the best treatment. While the person suffering may be hesitant to seek professional help, encouraging them to do so will be in their best interest.
PTSD can occur when someone goes through a traumatic experience. Understanding that the person is suffering from PTSD, what the symptoms are, and how to help with those symptoms will allow that person to better cope with their condition. Contact Kinder in the Keys if you or someone you love needs the help of a PTSD treatment center.


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.