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Tips On Supporting Someone With PTSD

Image symbolizing tips on supporting someone with PTSD

Psychological trauma can result from events including assault, abuse, the deaths of loved ones, natural disasters, serious illness, or bullying, to name just a few. Sadly, many people who live through such events develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or experience some of its symptoms. This can affect all areas of life, from relationships and hobbies to job performance and substance use. The good news is that effective PTSD treatment is available. If you’re struggling personally or looking for tips on supporting someone with PTSD, contact Northpoint Seattle today. Our caring team is available at 888.483.6031, and we look forward to talking to you about our PTSD treatment program or making a referral.

How Can I Best Support Someone with PTSD?

Getting meaningful support can make a world of difference to someone coping with PTSD, and if you’re a loved one looking to provide this, you’re doing something admirable. Know that PTSD can be unpredictable and far-reaching in its impacts, so it’s important to proceed with patience and sensitivity.

Remember that you are not alone in caring for your loved one with PTSD. Trauma’s broad scope means it has also been well-studied and resources are available. An individual therapist specializing in trauma or an accredited treatment center like Northpoint Seattle can be a great place to start getting support.

Here are a few tips on supporting someone with PTSD during this time:

Listen to your loved one, but let them set the pace for sharing.

Let them know that you’re here for them if or when they’re ready, and you understand it may take time.

Discuss treatment.

If you believe your loved one could benefit from professional support, find a time when both of you are calm and feeling relatively secure to bring up this idea to them.

Avoid any presumptive or judgmental statements like “I know how you feel” or “You need to ___.” Simply speak from a place of genuine love and concern for their well-being.

Be ready to take a pause when needed.

Sometimes PTSD can result in emotional outbursts, and you and your loved one may need some space. Be prepared to provide this by taking a walk, going into another room, or otherwise providing a cushion of time and space around interactions.

If your loved one shows signs they may self-harm or try suicide, seek professional support right away.

Don’t leave them alone and, as far as possible, remove dangerous objects like firearms or knives from their surroundings.

What Kinds of PTSD Support Are Available in a Rehab Setting?

There are a range of PTSD therapies effective in reducing symptoms over time. Talk therapy often forms a major component of treatment. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help your loved one address the negative thoughts that come up during PTSD flashbacks or at other times throughout the day. Their therapist will help them reframe these thoughts into more present-moment and fact-based statements with either a positive or neutral tone.

Another particularly effective PTSD treatment is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This technique utilizes bilateral stimulation via buzzers or tapping to bring both hemispheres of the patient’s brain online simultaneously. Their therapist then asks them to talk through a traumatic event that’s been causing distress. The process, administered under safe medical conditions, can help the patient let go of residual nervous system responses and bring consciousness to previously overwhelming incidents.

Oftentimes, people coping with PTSD develop substance abuse issues as well, so getting treatment that provides dual diagnosis when appropriate is key. In a rehab center that recognizes co-occurring substance abuse and mental health concerns, your loved one can receive care for both conditions in tandem. This gives them the best chance for a lasting recovery since treating just one out of two concerns tends to result in relapse over time. In a dual diagnosis rehab setting, staff work with your loved one to develop relapse prevention plans for their drug use, ensure stable home lives going forward, and work to treat PTSD or other illnesses that raise the risk of substance abuse.

Reach Out to Northpoint Seattle for Assistance Supporting a Loved One with PTSD or a Substance Use Disorder

PTSD need not be the major determining feature of your loved one’s quality of life. Getting professional treatment when it’s needed is a game-changer for many trauma survivors. PTSD is essentially a disorder of the nervous system, so finding ways to rebalance this important biochemical portion of the body is vital to healing.

Everything from formal interventions like EMDR to residential addiction treatment, if applicable, can be helpful. More informal approaches like yoga, dance, and music-making can also be great supports since they provide expressive and physically balancing outlets.

Contact Northpoint Seattle for answers to questions you may have about trauma treatment in Washington State or to request a referral. Speak to our friendly staff by calling 888.483.6031 or correspond with us by using our online contact form.