People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened ...even when they’re no longer in danger.
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms>
Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
2. Avoidance symptoms>
Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
Feeling emotionally numb
Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms>
Being easily startled
Feeling tense or “on edge”
Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Living through dangerous events and traumas
Having a history of mental illness
Seeing people hurt or killed
Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
Having little or no social support after the event
Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home.
Resilience factors that may reduce the risk of PTSD include:
Seeking out support from other people, such as friends and family
Finding a support group after a traumatic event
Feeling good about one’s own actions in the face of danger
Having a coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear.
Psychotherapy - “talk” therapy.
Exposure therapy - It exposes them to the trauma they experienced in a safe way.
Cognitive restructuring - This therapy helps people make sense of the bad memories.
Stress inoculation training - This therapy tries to reduce PTSD symptoms by teaching a person how to reduce anxiety.
How Talk Therapies Help People Overcome PTSD
Talk therapies teach people helpful ways to react to frightening events that trigger their PTSD symptoms. Based on this general goal, different types of therapy may:
Teach about trauma and its effects.
Use relaxation and anger control skills.
Provide tips for better sleep, diet, and exercise habits.
Help people identify and deal with guilt, shame, and other feelings about the event.
Focus on changing how people react to their PTSD symptoms. For example, therapy helps people visit places and people that are reminders of the trauma.
You may feel scared and frustrated about the changes you see in your loved one.
You can take steps to help a loved one cope with stress brought on by a traumatic event.
It is important to learn about PTSD so you can understand why it happened, how it is treated, and what you can do to help.
~~Here are ways you can help~~
•Learn as much as you can a...bout PTSD. Knowing how PTSD affects people may help you understand what your family member is going through.
•Offer to go to doctor visits with your family member.
•Tell your loved one you want to listen and that you also understand if he or she doesn't feel like talking.
•Plan family activities together, like having dinner or going to a movie.
•Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or do some other physical activity together.
•Encourage contact with family and close friends.
~~If angry or violent~~
•Agree that either of you can call a time-out at any time.
•Agree that when someone calls a time-out, the discussion must stop right then.
•Decide on a signal you will use to call a time-out. The signal can be a word that you say or a hand signal.
•Agree to tell each other where you will be and what you will be doing during the time-out. Tell each other what time you will come back
~~How can I communicate better?~~
•Be clear and to the point.
•Be positive. Blame and negative talk won't help the situation.
•Be a good listener. Don't argue or interrupt. Repeat what you hear to make sure you understand, and ask questions if you need to know more.
•Put your feelings into words. Your loved one may not know you are sad or frustrated unless you are clear about your feelings.
•Help your family member put feelings into words. Ask, "Are you feeling angry? Sad? Worried?"
•Ask how you can help.
•Don't give advice unless you are asked.
You may feel helpless, but there are many things you can do. Nobody expects you to have all the answers. If you feel there is a crisis for you or your loved one, use one of these toll-free, confidential hotlines:
•The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline* is a 24-hour hotline for anyone in emotional distress: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There is also an online Lifeline Chat* availabl...e from 5 pm to 1 am EST, weekdays.
•The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with VA responders through a 24/7 hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), PRESS 1. There is also a 24/7 online Confidential Veterans Chat or text message support at 838255.
•The National Domestic Violence Hotline* offers 24/7 anonymous access to shelters and domestic violence programs as well as legal advocacy, public education, and training: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
•The National Sexual Assault Hotline* operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is a 24/7 resource to link victims to counseling and legal advice: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). There is also a National Sexual Assault Online Hotline* for messaging.
•The National Child Abuse Hotline* is a 24/7 resource you can contact if you suspect a child is being abused, if you fear you might hurt your child, or if you have been abused: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453).
◾Car or plane crashes
◾Sudden death of a loved one
◾Sexual or physical abuse
Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. When your sense of safety and trust are shattered, it’s normal to feel crazy, disconnected, or numb. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened.
These are normal reactions to abnormal events.
For most people, however, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse.
1.Re-experiencing the traumatic event
2.Avoiding reminders of the trauma
3.Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event
◾Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
◾Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)...
◾Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
◾Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
◾Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing
◾Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
◾ Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
◾ Loss of interest in activities and life in general
◾ Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
◾ Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
◾Difficulty falling or staying asleep
◾ Irritability or outbursts of anger
◾ Difficulty concentrating
◾ Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
◾ Feeling jumpy and easily startled
Other common symptoms:
◾Anger and irritability
◾Guilt, shame, or self-blame
◾Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
◾Depression and hopelessness
◾Suicidal thoughts and feelings
◾Feeling alienated and alone
◾Physical aches and pains
◾Be patient and understanding.
Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment for PTSD. Be patient with the pace of recovery and offer a sympathetic ear. A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the... past and move on.
◾Try to anticipate and prepare for PTSD triggers.
Common triggers include anniversary dates; people or places associated with the trauma; and certain sights, sounds, or smells. If you are aware of what triggers may cause an upsetting reaction, you’ll be in a better position to offer your support and help your loved one calm down.
◾Don’t take the symptoms of PTSD personally.
Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include emotional numbness, anger, and withdrawal. If your loved one seems distant, irritable, or closed off, remember that this may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.
◾Don’t pressure your loved one into talking.
It is very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Never try to force your loved one to open up. Let the person know, however, that you’re there when and if he or she wants to talk.