After a traumatic incident, many people can easily move along with their day-to-day lives while others have painful thoughts and feelings that can rehash at any given moment.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a lingering reminder that brings bouts of flashbacks and triggers that can affect someone’s livelihood. PTSD symptoms are often triggered by something internally (thoughts or feelings) or externally (outside of the body such as a stressful situation or environment).
Unless you or someone you know live with PTSD, it can be difficult to understand why an event that happened years ago can cause triggers and flashbacks today. Those who live with PTSD don’t need to simply “forget about it,” but instead need support and understanding from their loved ones. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, celebrated in June, is dedicated to raising awareness about the effects and how each of us can help make their lives just a little easier.
Here are four ways you can help someone living with PTSD.
Learn about their triggers
Some situations that are seemingly normal such as swimming at the beach can pose a mental or physical threat to someone living with PTSD who suffered from a drowning incident as a child. Take the time to learn and understand the triggers of your loved one who is living with PTSD and be sensitive to what might cause a negative reaction.
Try to not minimize their feelings
Telling someone who lives with PTSD that their feelings are insignificant is detrimental to their thought and recovery process. Instead, encourage them with positive affirmations and allow them to be vulnerable.
Know that they may not always want to be vulnerable
A listening ear is always needed, but know that an individual may not want to share their feelings the moment you ask, “What’s wrong?” If they are not open to speaking, affirm that you will be there when it’s needed. When they have the courage to talk about their thoughts, be sure to give them space without offering advice and simply listen.
Help make new, special memories
While you don’t want to minimize the incident and make someone dealing with PTSD feel less than, it’s also important to illuminate happy moments in life and create new and special memories. Whether it’s a nice weekend getaway or a party just because, providing a loving, caring environment is just what a person suffering from PTSD needs to know the people around them are being supportive.
Psychiatry & Mental Health Therapy at Synergy Immediate Care
Treatment for PTSD is not an overnight solution, which is why at Synergy Immediate Care, our on-staff psychiatrist and mental health therapist specialize in the evaluation, treatment, and management of PTSD for long-term results. For more information about our services, please call to book an appointment with one of our medical professionals at 703-942-5331.