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Helping a Loved One Survive PTSD

Mind, News

HANFORD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a traumatic event. Symptoms don’t always show up right away. In many cases, they do not reveal themselves until months or years after the trauma.

The National Center for PTSD says people with the disorder experience three main types of symptoms:

• Reliving the trauma in some way. Upsetting memories of the event can return unexpectedly or be triggered by something. Sometimes the memories can feel so real that it seems like the event is happening again.

• Staying away from places or people that are reminders of the traumatic event, isolating oneself, or feeling numb.

• Feeling a constant emotional arousal that can cause difficulty sleeping, outbursts of anger, irritability or difficulty concentrating.

PTSD can be successfully treated.

When someone you love has PTSD, it can change your way of life. Your loved one may act differently or become angered easily. He or she may not want to do things you used to enjoy together. Although you may feel helpless, there are things you can do:

• Learn as much as you can about PTSD.

• Seek professional help for your loved one, yourself or both of you. Offer to go to the doctor with your loved one.

• Tell your loved one that you want to listen and that you understand if he or she doesn’t feel like talking.

• Plan fun family activities together, such as having a nice dinner; going to a movie; or walking, biking or doing some other physical activity.

• Set up a timeout system to use when your loved one becomes angry. Agree on a timeout signal that means the discussion will stop.

• Encourage contact with family members or close friends. A support system can be very helpful in difficult times.