How to Support Someone With PTSD

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

June is PTSD Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing understanding and reducing stigma around post-traumatic stress disorder – a condition that can emerge from exposure to any frightening or life-threatening event. While commonly associated with military service, PTSD may also be an effect of experiences like domestic violence, natural disasters, serious accidents, or the sudden death of a loved one.

Understanding PTSD’s Emotional and Psychological Impact

PTSD symptoms can vary widely but typically include flashbacks, avoidance, severe anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts about the event, and emotional numbness. People with PTSD may experience intense, unpredictable feelings of sadness, anger, or fear, often feeling detached or estranged from other people. These emotions often complicate personal relationships and lead to social isolation.

PTSD can also manifest physically, causing symptoms like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and other stress-related conditions. The constant state of tension often contributes to long-term health issues such as cardiovascular problems. Severe PTSD may interfere with someone’s ability to work, pursue education, maintain healthy relationships, or complete everyday tasks, affecting their overall quality of life.

A Compassionate Approach to Helping a Loved One With PTSD

This PTSD Awareness Month, consider these ways you can show someone close to you that you love them and want them to get better.

1. Educate Yourself About Mental Health Disorders

Understanding what PTSD is and recognizing its symptoms can make a significant difference. You can learn when to offer help or give space, understand someone’s occasionally erratic behavior, and provide stability and understanding.

2. Be Patient and Understanding

Healing from PTSD is a gradual, ongoing process. Avoid pushing your loved one to move forward before they are ready, and recognize that recovery takes time.

3. Listen Actively

Offering an open, non-judgmental ear is one of the most critical ways to help a loved one heal from PTSD. Let them know you’re there to listen, but don’t get frustrated if they aren’t able or willing to talk about their trauma with you.

4. Encourage Them to Get Professional Help

Some therapists or counselors specialize in trauma-focused techniques like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Offer to help your loved one find a provider or drive them to appointments.

5. Support Their Treatment

PTSD treatment can include therapy, medications, and specific lifestyle changes. Encourage your loved one to stick with a consistent treatment regimen.

6. Offer Spiritual Guidance

Christian teachings can be a powerful source of comfort and recovery for those who draw strength from their faith. Participate in community church activities, prayer groups, or meetings with a pastoral counselor who understands PTSD.

7. Promote Safety and Security

Minimizing stressors and avoiding known triggers can help someone with PTSD feel more comfortable exploring and confronting their experiences.

8. Understand and Accept Mood Swings

Mood swings can be a manifestation of PTSD. Instead of getting angry or frustrated, offer compassion and understanding when these occur.

Faith-Based Mental Health Counseling

God calls us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and love people in need. Being present for someone with PTSD requires patience and empathy.

This PTSD Awareness Month, renew your commitment to help your friends, family, or community members dealing with PTSD. By integrating understanding with action, you can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by this challenging disorder. Celebrate Hope offers one-on-one, faith-based counseling sessions to bring the power of God’s love to our clients struggling with their mental health. Please connect with us today to learn more.

Contact Our Accredited Christian Rehab Center

Reach out to recover your relationship with God.