An individual suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has difficulties coping with severe stress. There are many triggers, but it’s commonly diagnosed in combat veterans. PTSD can also be caused by witnessing or living through shocking events, such as accidents or crimes.
It’s important to understand the symptoms of PTSD to help a loved one. Symptoms can vary in length and intensity and may even come and go. Veterans and others who suffer from PTSD may experience some or all of the symptoms.
- Sleeping issues such as insomnia or nightmares
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Panic attacks
- Extreme anger
- Suicidal thoughts
- Withdrawal from loved ones
A person with PTSD often experiences shame and guilt associated with what they are going through. So how can family, friends, and caregivers help?
After a person has been diagnosed with PTSD, they should seek a treatment plan. It often takes time to get the right treatment for the person with PTSD and find a doctor with experience. The Department of Veterans Affairs can help connect the veteran with an experienced doctor and find counseling or medication. The symptoms of PTSD may not be completely eradicated with treatment, and it may be necessary to try various treatment methods.
People suffering from PTSD often have triggers or something that makes their symptoms worse, such as loud noises. If your loved one has PTSD, those around them need to learn their triggers. Avoiding triggers is optimal but not always possible. Learning to cope with triggers is one way to help the PTSD sufferer.
Isolation and withdrawal from others are common for people with PTSD. Although some time alone is fine, find ways to encourage your loved one to avoid isolation. Encourage them to spend time and keep in touch with friends and family. When your loved one wishes to talk, be available to listen. If possible, find a support group for your loved one. This allows them to relate with others who may be experiencing the same symptoms in a safe place so they don’t feel alone.
Other issues arise when a person suffers from PTSD, such as uncontrollable anger, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts. It’s important to be keenly aware of these things and to take them seriously. If a person with PTSD becomes angry, have a plan for a time out, and don’t try to reason with them until they’ve had a chance to calm down. Encourage healthy habits and ways to deal with anger. With drug and alcohol abuse, getting help is critical because it can greatly impair their ability to heal. Finally, if a loved one with PTSD talks about suicide, take it seriously and intervene.
Loving, living with, and caring for someone with PTSD is no easy feat. Being informed and seeking help can significantly benefit all of those involved. Not only can the person with PTSD seek help, but their loved ones and caregivers can too. Support groups, churches, hospitals, and the Department of Veterans Affairs can all help family members, friends, and caregivers find assistance.
Our law firm is dedicated to informing you about issues affecting veterans, seniors, and others in our community who may be experiencing health issues. We help you and your loved ones prepare for potential long-term medical expenses and the need to transition to in-home care, assisted living care, or nursing home care. Contact our Albuquerque office at (505) 830-0202 today to learn how we can help you and your loved one’s plan for the future.