When a loved one has PTSD, it can be a challenging time. You may be wondering how you can help them cope with their anxiety. Luckily, there are researched and tested methods to help them through this difficult period in their lives. Here are a few ways you can help and support your loved one.
Provide Social and Emotional Support
PTSD breeds feelings of shame and makes one feel like a burden to their family. Some may alienate themselves because they feel their family members or close friends may not understand what they are going through. It is not easy to show support while respecting their decision to stay away. However, let them know that you support them and are always available if they need to talk. Assure them that they are not a burden, and demonstrate love throughout the process. If your loved one or their parent served in World War I, they may have the 1919 Navy Cross that was created to honor them. Ask your loved one whether they’d like it displayed in their home or if keeping it packed away is best for their mental health.
Help Manage Their Triggers
You never know what the triggers are for someone living with PTSD. However, by observing them closely, you will realize that certain sounds, people, or places may cause a reaction. Some triggers are obvious, as they develop from their surroundings. For instance, a retired military officer may find gunfire noises or sounds of helicopters as triggers. With the thousands of military helicopters in use, it may be hard to avoid the triggers.
You can anticipate these triggers and help them manage them. Talk to them and find ways to respond to these triggers. Consulting a professional is important in this situation.
Talk About Joining a Support Group
While you may offer your love and support, it may not be enough to get your loved one through their PTSD. Encourage your loved one to seek support from professionals. Avoid bringing it up in a tense environment. If they are not up to it, ease them in by asking people they respect and trust to talk to them. Emphasize the benefits of joining a support group and even offer to accompany them during the sessions until they are comfortable going on their own.
Ensure They Visit Needed Medical Professionals Regularly
Keep track of clinical visits with the therapist for your loved one who has PTSD. Failure to visit the needed medical professionals could lead to other issues, such as dental problems. More than 25% of adults over the age of 74 have lost all their permanent teeth, and a whopping 69% of those between ages 35 and 44 are missing at least one permanent tooth. According to the global Foundation for Oral Rehabilitation (FOR), these losses can be attributed to accidents, gum disease, and tooth decay. By ensuring they make regular visits to the doctor and dentist for check-ups, you are helping them keep these problems at bay.
Remember That You’re Not the Expert
PTSD is a new phenomenon to you, and you are learning through your loved one the symptoms and how to support them during this difficult time. It can be overwhelming, and sometimes, you will find out that you experience burnout because you do not have all the answers. In severe cases, you may also be a victim of secondary traumatization.
While you are supporting your loved one, also remember to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, you are not professionally qualified to deal with PTSD, so remember to always ask for help whenever you feel confused or tired from taking care of your loved one. It’s best to find a qualified therapist for a loved one with PTSD, too.
PTSD can cause anxiety for your loved one and even yourself. However, with your love and support during this crucial period, they may overcome it. Remember to learn all you can to offer support, and ask for help in areas where you don’t have the answers.