How to Handle a Loved One’s PTSD

September 10, 2018
When a loved one has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the relationship is affected. They may not be able to carry out their day to day activities normally. They may also display uncharacteristic symptoms such as anger outbursts, anxiety attacks and withdrawal. Learning how to handle these changes can improve your relationship. Some of the best ways to handle your loved one’s PTSD include:

Understanding PTSD

Learning about this condition can help ease your frustration and improve your coping skills. Accurate information also helps you avoid the triggers that set off or enhance their threat response. You can find PTSD information online, in support groups and from healthcare professionals.

Providing a Safe Space

Because fear is a big element of PTSD, making your loved one feel safe, understood and appreciated can help calm them down. A listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and an assurance of your love go a long way when dealing with any form of anxiety.

Getting Professional Help

PTSD often requires psychotherapy in order to resolve the underlying triggers of the perceived threat to the individual. You can support your loved one’s treatment by attending therapy sessions with them and ensuring they take their medication.

Respecting Their Boundaries

Trauma survivors have different coping mechanisms to manage their symptoms. While some of these mechanisms may seem absurd to you, it is important to respect and even support them. Creating and respecting healthy boundaries helps your loved one feel safe and in control of their life.

Focusing on the Present

Because PTSD is rooted in past events, it is important to keep your loved one focused on creating new experiences and memories. When they are feeling stuck, you can plan activities to distract them and keep them grounded.

Taking Care of Yourself

Caring for someone with PTSD can be overwhelming. Take some time to recharge and do things you enjoy. Find a support group for families of PTSD survivors. If need be, get therapy to cope with your own emotions. Taking care of yourself sets a good example for them and gives you the energy to cope with the situation.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that your loved one’s suffering is real even if you cannot understand it. With support from loved ones and professionals, they can overcome this debilitating condition.

Brittany P. Marsh

About the Author

Brittany P. Marsh