Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, proves challenging for all parties involved. Unfortunately, most people are clueless about how to handle PTSD victims.
If this rings true to your situation, you should educate yourself on what to expect. You’ll be able to offer effective help if you’re armed with the right information. So, what’s your role? Find out in this detailed write-up.
Understanding PTSD – What’s Your Role?
As a caregiver, it’s crucial to understand this condition so that you can provide your loved one what they need during their episodes. Typically, PTSD develops after a difficult, terrifying or traumatic experience. However, the symptoms vary from one person to another.
PTSD may present itself differently. Some of the symptoms to expect include:
- Social isolation.
You should also know that people don’t have to be in the face of danger to experience PTSD. This condition affects those who were directly involved in the event of the disastrous situation, their relatives, and witnesses. Individuals sent to remedy the situation, like firefighters and medical practitioners, may also be affected and develop PTSD after the traumatic event.
There are a plethora of things that can result in PTSD. The common causes include:
- War combat;
- Sexual assault;
- Terrorist attacks;
- Losing a baby;
- Serious illnesses.
Who Is The Best Specialist For Treating PTSD?
The first step is seeking professional help. A specialist who understands the condition will help your loved one cope better with their struggle and handle traumatic events more effectively.
It’s also important to tag along for the treatment sessions. Your loved one will feel more comfortable opening up when there’s a familiar face around. But don’t go for the first doctor you come across. You need to see a therapist who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you don’t know how to find the right counselor for your needs, the National Center for PTSD has invaluable information you can use to learn. It’s also advisable to get the person to join a PTSD support group. This is especially important if they are having trouble talking to you about what they’re feeling. This way, they can share their opinion and what they’re going through with people fighting the same battles.
Which Approach Do Therapists Use To Treat PTSD?
Therapists use different treatment strategies with the aim of providing effective coping mechanisms. You need to learn all the treatment options to know what to expect and the various ways you can help your loved one cope at home. You should expect the following.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
In this treatment strategy, your loved one will be asked to identify any upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event. The goal here is to help them learn how to replace such thoughts with positive ones. At first, it may be challenging, but the sessions are designed to help your loved one deal with possible roadblocks.
Learning to take care of a person going through PTSD can prove challenging and stressful. If you have a lot of stress from trying to help your loved one cope with PTSD, family therapy may be a good idea. In these sessions, the therapist teaches the family and helps them understand the situation at hand and how to work together to get it under control.
When your loved one is showing signs of anxiety or clinical depression, the therapist may prescribe medication. Zoloft and Prozac are some of the popular drugs given to help victims cope with their symptoms. However, while the medicine may offer some relief, it won’t cure the problem. Drugs are often combined with therapy for the best results.
Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy
PE therapy is an excellent treatment for sufferers exhibiting avoidance tendencies. The counselor will work with your loved one to come eye-to-eye with the situation they’ve been avoiding. If there’s too much anxiety involved, the doctor may teach techniques for coping with anxiety.
Stress Inoculation Training
In this therapy technique, the therapist simply works with your loved one to help them start viewing what they remember in a positive way and ignore the negatives. This therapy is an excellent way to deal with anxiety in PTSD sufferers.
Is PTSD Treatment Optional?
If you’ve not suffered post-traumatic stress disorder yourself, it may be easy to assume the problem will go away on its own. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your loved one won’t just wake up one morning over the situation and stress-free.
You need professional intervention to get the situation under control. Besides, your loved one is better positioned to get effective help when they start treatment early. That is because the victim gets time to decide which treatment methods work best for them.
Tips On How To Support PTSD Sufferers
It’s not enough to get your loved one the best professional help. Outside professional care, the person needs effective homecare. The following tips will help.
- Keep your home drug and alcohol-free. PTSD victims sometimes use drugs and alcohol to cope with stress. Don’t let this happen because it only makes matters worse.
- Encourage movement and physical activity. Exercise is an excellent mood booster, and it will help improve your loved one’s quality of life. Besides, research has proven that physical activity with PTSD symptoms.
- Be a shoulder to cry on; Make it known that you’re always available to listen if they want to talk but don’t force the person to do it.
- Treat them with respect. It may take the victim some time to get over a traumatic experience. Avoid saying things like, “You should be over it by now. Why are you overreacting?” Respect your loved one and embrace all the seasons they’re in.
- Exercise patience. Getting post-traumatic stress disorder under control will take time and effort. Be patient and give them space until they’re ready to confide in you.
- Involve your loved one in activities. You shouldn’t isolate a PTSD sufferer. Make plans with them and engage them in fun activities outdoors so that they feel they have support.
- Start with you. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Therefore, prioritize self-care before taking care of other’s needs.
Keeping PTSD under control is no easy feat. This condition affects not only the victim but also everyone they love. For this reason, family and friends need to learn how to help. Having this knowledge goes a long way in providing effective coping mechanisms for your loved one.
Research about this type of therapy and compare different therapists to ensure you find your loved one the best therapy services.