How to Support a Family Member With PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs after a traumatic event. It’s common in certain groups, including people who have been to war and homeless populations. Because it can have far-reaching effects on a person’s quality of life, many people search for strategies and tactics to help support a family member with PTSD. At Hope Springs Behavioral Health, we understand, and we’re happy to help.

Here are a few ways to make sure people with PTSD can make it through these difficult times with the support they need.

Get Involved at a Level They’re Comfortable With

When someone undergoes trauma, it’s important to be there for them. Depending on the circumstances of the inciting event, they may be more or less open to people (even those who love them) being a part of their life.

This means not being overbearing or trying to get involved with their care if they aren’t immediately comfortable with it. You should encourage your loved one to get help, but if you try to help too much at one time, you can push them even further away.

Learn as Much as You Can About PTSD

A major part of showing support for a family member with PTSD is being able to sympathize with them and show that you understand what they’re going through. This means doing your research on the condition. Learn the symptoms of PTSD and read firsthand accounts of what a person with PTSD goes through every day.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what PTSD is and what causes it. For example, some people think that only military veterans suffer from PTSD — this is not the case. Learn as much as you can and use your knowledge, both to help your loved ones and show them that you’re putting in as much effort as possible to help provide them a safe space to heal.

Help Them Manage Triggers

PTSD can manifest in a variety of different ways. For example, your loved one may see or hear something that reminds them of their experience and have a panic attack or be unable to control their emotions or actions. Veterans, for example, often react negatively to sudden, loud noises because it reminds them of the trauma they experienced at war.

As you learn your loved one’s triggers, help them avoid them by creating safe spaces, limiting opportunities for those triggers to occur, and letting them know that you’ll accompany them without question if they need to leave an event for their own safety.

Be Supportive and Empathetic

Sometimes, the best way to support a family member with PTSD is to simply be there for them. Often, people with PTSD feel unsafe as a result of the circumstances surrounding their traumatic experience(s). What you need to do is listen, communicate, and show them that they’re safe with the people who love and care about them.

Do You Have a Family Member With PTSD? Turn to Hope Springs Behavioral Health

Supporting a family member with PTSD is often difficult. They’re easily startled, prone to destructive behavior, and naturally face more challenges living a life that’s considered “normal.”

However, there are treatment options that can allow your loved one to have an easier time in recovery. At Hope Springs Behavioral Health, we can help your friend or family member suffering from PTSD live a healthier life. For more information about family counseling in Bucks County, PA, or the difference between behavioral health and mental health, contact us today.


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