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Living with PTSD: How to help someone you love overcome trauma

Posted on 08-18-2017 Posted in Mental Illness, PTSD, Trauma - 0 Comments

Love is blind, they say. Before falling in love with someone, a person normally doesn’t do a background check – be it for one’s social or financial status or for overall health. Life can be full of surprises – some pleasant and some unpleasant. To find it later in life that one’s love is suffering from a problem is enough to shock the person. And if the problem is related to mental health, it becomes really important to extend full support to the loved one.

Trauma is one such condition which doesn’t let a person live his or her life normally. It’s a common experience for both children and adults. As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 7.7 million American adults suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a rather debilitating condition. PTSD can occur to people who have witnessed a war, personal assault, serious accident, natural disaster, or any other life-threatening event.

While the time frame of the actual trauma may be short or long, the effect that the experience has on an individual may be extended. As everyone deals with tragedy differently, no matter how hard the person tries, he/she may not be able to understand someone’s suffering from trauma. One must understand that though PTSD symptoms can be hard for a survivor, they can be harder for others living with the patient to identify with.

Individuals who have survived a trauma may have trouble with relationships involving close family and friends. Having PTSD can cause problems with proximity, communication, and trust that may affect one’s behavior and the response one offers in a relationship.

Loving someone with PTSD

The key to continue loving someone with PTSD is the power of assurance and unconditional love and support. While one may be pushed away or be forced to face extreme emotions, a patient hearing and standing by one’s side can go a long way in helping someone deal with his/her mental illness.

Individuals with PTSD fight their nightmares continuously. Masters at hiding their pain, they feel weak more often than others. While it may seem easy to give up on such relationships, staying around for the partner and making them aware of one’s unconditional love and support, irrespective of circumstances or behavior, can go a long way in helping the survivor deal with his/her symptoms. By being tolerant and often reminding the survivor of the power of love, one can help a PTSD-sufferer open up, share thoughts, and start believing again.

Surviving trauma and its effects on relationships

During the first few weeks or months following the traumatic event, survivors may feel angry, detached, or tense. They may feel irritable, worried, distant and numb, and may lose interest in social and sexual activities. Often haunted by memories and flashbacks of the traumatic event, they may have trouble sleeping, making the situation exhausting both for themselves and their partners.

Struggling with intense anger or impulses, trauma survivors may push people away, avoid closeness, and find consistent faults with loved ones and friends. In some cases, the survivors may depend too much on their partners or family members. Experiencing PTSD symptoms can also take up a lot of time and attention of the survivor due to which they may be unable to focus on their partner or their relationships, making it hard and often impossible to make decisions and work as a team, which is the foundation of a good and complimentary relationship.

Supporting someone through PTSD

Dealing with someone who has PTSD can test even the strongest of relationships. While it may require one to adopt different skills and strategies to handle varied emotions of the survivors, the more one knows about the mental disorder, the better he/she is equipped to handle, understand, and provide encouragement to a survivor. If one finds the task too engulfing, one may employ the help of professionals and/or participate in therapy sessions, such as couple counseling, family therapy, or anger and stress management programs.

Relationships and social support can help a survivor cope with the stress, help reduce depression and guilt, and conquer the feelings of loneliness, which are key to the recovery from trauma. In addition to spending time together and participating in fun-filled activities, treating a trauma survivor with kindness, respect, and compassion can help forge stronger bonds.

Helping someone with PTSD

A leading behavioral health care provider, Sovereign Health understands how difficult it may be to undergo persistent nightmares and fears. With the aim to reduce emotional and physical symptoms, enhance daily functioning, and help patients cope with trigger events, the treatment at Sovereign Health’s PTSD treatment center in Florida involves a holistic combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities.

If you or your loved one is suffering from PTSD and is looking to connect with the best PTSD treatment center near you, call our 24/7 helpline number today. You can also chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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The dual diagnosis program was what attracted me to Sovereign Health. My therapist was always open for discussion and the group sessions were very informative and educational.

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