How to Help Someone With PTSD
According to the American Psychiatric Association, about one in eleven people will be diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their life.
Chances are high that at some point in your life, you'll end up knowing someone who struggles with PTSD.
If this is the first time you've known someone who has this disorder, you may be wondering how to help someone with PTSD. We'll provide some helpful tips to make it easier for you.
Listen to Them
One of the most important things you need to do for someone who has PTSD is to just listen to them.
There's a fine line between encouraging them to open up and talk and not pushing them to talk about their emotions and experiences if they don't want to.
Their experiences might be hard to listen to for you, but try and be quiet so they feel as if they have a safe space to talk and open up.
However, when they do fo finally open up, make sure that you listen to them. Show that you're interested and that you care about them. You might be tempted to judge them and voice your opinions about their feelings, but it'll be better to keep it to yourself.
A common thing that people with PTSD struggle with is having to talk about their experiences over and over again. Even if you've heard the story once before, don't stop them when they try to tell it again.
Being able to talk about it is part of the healing process for them, so bite off the urge to tell them to stop reliving the past and move on. This is their way of doing it.
Be Gentle and Sensitive
It's important to be gentle and sensitive when you're listening to them, but you should also be gentle if you touch them.
Some people who were sexually assaulted, for example, may not like being touched because it triggers their memories from the past.
You might be tempted to hug them or rub their arm in consolation, but this might harm them rather than help them. Just take cues from their body language and how they respond to physical touch.
Help Them Manage Their Triggers
Another way you can be there for someone who has PTSD is to help them manage their triggers.
If you're not aware, a trigger is something that sets off uncomfortable feelings in them. It normally reminds them of their traumatic event. For example, veterans might be triggered by fireworks because they remind them of wartime.
Some people aren't sure exactly what their triggers are though. You should be there for them while they try and figure out what their triggers are and help them avoid and manage them.
One way to help them manage their triggers is to take cannabinoids. However, if you're not familiar with them, learn about these things to know about Cannabinoids.
Make Them Feel in Control
One thing that stresses out people who have PTSD is not being in control.
You might be able to help them feel like they have control over the little things. For example, you could let them pick where to go out to eat. Or what they want to do for the day.
You can also make them feel like they're in control by asking if you have permission to hang out with them or touch them. This shows them that they are still in control of their own body and space.
Learn How to React to Their Anger
People who struggle with PTSD also have angry outbursts every now and then. Because they're dealing with traumatic issues, they might have a harder time controlling their emotions.
So if they lash out at you in anger, try not to take it personally. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their side.
You can also prepare yourself for these outbursts by figuring out what some of their signs are. If they're clenching their fists or jaws, they might be trying to hold it back.
If they do have an angry outburst, try and do your best to remain calm. If you get angry back at them, you'll just escalate the situation.
You can try and calm them down, but if that doesn't seem to be working, you should give them their space.
It can be incredibly frustrating to take care of someone who has PTSD, but being patient will really help you out.
They might suddenly cancel on you or not talk to you for a few days at a time.
Just keep in mind what they're going through and be more understanding with them.
Take Care of Yourself Too
At the end of the day, make sure that you take care of yourself as well.
If you're dealing with a lot of your own problems, you might want to reach out to a therapist who can help you.
Keep in mind that you need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else.
Learn More About How to Help Someone With PTSD
These are only a few ways to help someone with PTSD, but there are many more things you can try.
We know that helping someone with these issues can be challenging for you as well, but you don't have to deal with them on your own.
We're here to help! If you enjoyed this article, make sure that you explore our website and find more articles just like this one!