Life can be difficult to manage for those living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) For many, it can also be debilitating. PTSD can have a major impact on those who suffer from it in their day-to-day lives, including both professional and personal.
You may wonder what the symptoms of PTSD are and how you can treat them. Throughout this article, we will discuss both symptoms and how to cope.
Warning signs and symptoms
Many with PTSD will exhibit warning signs and noticeable changes when their PTSD is triggered. One of the biggest signs to look out for is changes in their mood. You may notice that your loved one becomes more angry, irritated, upset, anxious, or depressed.
It’s critical to look out for signs similar to the ones below and to take note of them.
These include reliving the traumatic event as if it’s happening in real-time or having recurring distressing memories. They might also suffer from physical or emotional distress to something that reminds them of the traumatic event. It’s also possible that they have nightmares or night terrors about the event.
Negative thoughts and mood
Many will have negative thoughts about themselves, others, or the world. They might also feel helpless about the future and feel as though things won’t get better. There could also be memory problems, including not remembering any aspects of the traumatic event.
It’s also possible that those with PTSD will have trouble maintaining relationships, and they start to feel detached from family and friends.
Avoiding what happened
They don’t want to think about or talk about the event. They also won’t go to places or do activities that remind them of the traumatic event.
Changes in reactions
Symptoms of changes in emotional and physical reactions can include being on guard or easily frightened or startled. Some will have self-destructive behavior, such as abusing drugs or alcohol. Many will have trouble sleeping or concentrating, which leads to irritability. It’s also possible that they will have overwhelming guilt or shame. Especially if they survived and others didn’t.
How to treat PTSD
There’s no singular way to support someone with PTSD or to cope with PTSD. In fact, there are quite a few. Outside of medication and traditional talk therapy, the suggestions below can be good options to help cope with PTSD.
Support your loved one.
When supporting someone with PTSD, it’s important to have open lines of communication. While you don’t want to overwhelm them, it is still helpful to check in on them regularly to see how they’re doing. It’s also important to not pressure them to talk if they’re not ready to or they do not want to.
If you suffer from PTSD, it’s okay to set boundaries for how you feel and react to specific topics, including explaining how you feel about physical touch, including hugs or holding hands. You can also discuss communication strategies, such as if you want loved ones to stay in touch when you’re not with them. This could include letting them know when you’ll be home and, if you’ll be delayed, letting them know your new estimated time to arrive home.
Journal your experiences
Sometimes, it’s hard to talk about how you’re feeling. Just saying how you feel can feel overwhelming. In those cases, try to journal or write about your experiences. This can be giving a detailed account of the experience, including talking about what you saw, heard, or smelled. It can also include just giving notes about who was with you when the traumatic event occurred. This can be a great first step to recovering.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for someone with PTSD or if you have PTSD is to be open honest, and supportive of the healing process. An important part of the healing process often includes trauma therapy. Trauma therapy or PTSD treatment can help you or your loved one find ways to heal from the past.