3 Ways to Support Someone with PTSD

Every person who has PTSD experiences it differently; no two people have exactly the same symptoms, triggers, or needs. Supporting someone with PTSD can take more than you can provide, and that’s okay. It often requires the guidance of a PTSD treatment program to help the individual gain their life back.

PTSD presents unique challenges for individuals and those who spend time with them. If you or someone you care about needs professional PTSD support, contact BlueCrest Recovery at 888.292.9652.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric condition that can surface in some people after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, series of events, or circumstances.

A person with PTSD can experience disturbing, intense feelings related to the experience that triggers the disorder, which can follow any type of various events, including, but not limited to, things like:

  • Intimate partner violence
  • Bullying
  • Natural disasters
  • Sexual assault
  • Serious accidents
  • Historical trauma
  • War or combat
  • Terrorist acts

PTSD can affect any person at any age from any background and culture. It’s estimated that one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Every individual experiences symptoms in unique ways; those symptoms fall into the following four categories:

  • Alterations in reactivity, including being irritable, behaving recklessly, having anger outbursts, being paranoid and easily startled, and having problems sleeping or focusing
  • Avoidance of any reminders of the traumatic event, including avoiding objects, people, situations, and activities that may trigger traumatic memories
  • Changes in mood and cognition, including trouble remembering aspects of the event, ongoing distorted beliefs about themselves and others, guilt, fear, anger, horror, or shame
  • Intrusive thoughts that include repetitive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or distressing dreams

For an official PTSD diagnosis to be made, the individual must have symptoms that last for over a month and cause significant interruption and stress for them every day.

3 Ways to Show Support for PTSD Management

It’s critical to show support for PTSD management in ways that are tailored to an individual’s symptoms. The best ways to support someone with PTSD aren’t always clear; however, there are three significant ways to show PTSD support that can go a long way.

1. Learn What Makes Them Feel Safe

It’s important to remember that fear is the primary symptom of PTSD. Because of this, one of the best things you can do to support someone with PTSD is to help them feel safe.

What makes a person feel safe can vary from one individual to another. Some people feel safe just by receiving a hug. Others feel safe by spending quality time with someone they trust. Others feel safer by hearing someone reaffirm that “it’s going to be okay.”

2. Affirm the Person’s Strengths

It’s often helpful to an individual with PTSD when someone close to them identifies, affirms, and appreciates how they have grown as they heal. Some ways you can affirm your loved ones’ strengths might be by saying, “I admire your courage,” “I can see how strong you are; do you see your strength?” and “I respect your ability to persevere.”

3. Know What Not to Say to Someone with PTSD

Always consider the fact that a person’s actions may be responses to the trauma they endured. Making statements that minimize their feelings, create unfair comparisons, or cause them embarrassment or shame will likely aggravate their symptoms.

Therefore, it’s helpful to refrain from saying things like, “You’re overreacting,” “It’s not that bad,” or “Other people are in worse situations.” Instead, take care to make them feel safe and be an active, attentive listener. Sometimes, a person just needs someone to be there.

Support Someone with PTSD with BlueCrest Recovery

Ultimately, one of the best ways to support someone with PTSD is to encourage them to seek help through a PTSD treatment program. If you or a loved one needs these programs’ healing support, contact BlueCrest Recovery at 888.292.9652.

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