How To Help A Loved One With PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after someone experiences a traumatic event. If you have a loved one who may have experienced a traumatic event, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD so that you can help them get the support and treatment they need.

What is a traumatic event?

A traumatic event can be a life-threatening or emotionally distressing experience that can cause feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror. Some common examples of traumatic events include natural disasters, car accidents, child neglect or abuse, physical or sexual assault, military combat and serious illness.

What is considered a traumatic event can vary from person to person, and can depend on an individual’s unique experiences, beliefs, and coping mechanisms?

Other definitions of traumatic events may include:

  • A shocking and unexpected event that disrupts an individual’s sense of safety and security
  • An event that is perceived as highly threatening or dangerous
  • An event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope and leads to feelings of helplessness or powerlessness

It is important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the severity and duration of the event, as well as an individual’s personal resources and support systems, can all play a role in the impact of the event and the likelihood of developing PTSD.

Help A Loved One With Ptsd

Signs That Your Loved One May have PTSD

Trauma can leave a deep psychological wound that hinders personal growth and development. It can cause ongoing emotional pain and lead to behaviours motivated by that pain. It can also instil fear and cause actions driven by fear. In other words, trauma can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being and can interfere with their ability to move forward and grow.

Some potential signs of PTSD

Re-experiencing the traumatic event:

This can take the form of flashbacks, where the person relives the event as if it is happening again, or nightmares about the event. They may also have strong physical reactions to reminders of the event, such as a racing heart or increased anxiety.


Your loved one may try to avoid situations or activities that remind them of the traumatic event. They may also avoid talking about the event or thinking about it.

Negative changes in mood and cognition:

Your loved one may have negative thoughts about themselves or the world around them and may feel detached or numb. They may also have difficulty remembering certain aspects of the traumatic event.

Changes in physical and emotional reactions:

Your loved one may experience changes in their sleep patterns, appetite, or energy level. They may also be more easily startled or become easily angered or agitated.

If you suspect that your loved one may have PTSD, it is important to encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment, such as therapy and medication, individuals with PTSD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Gabor Mate’ trauma

Gabor Maté is a physician and author who has written extensively about the effects of trauma on the mind and body. In his work, he emphasizes the importance of understanding the role that trauma can play in a person’s mental and physical health.

According to Maté, trauma can have a profound impact on an individual’s physical and emotional well-being. He believes that trauma can cause changes in the brain and body that can lead to a wide range of physical and mental health issues, including addiction, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Maté also emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of trauma in order to effectively treat it. He advocates for a holistic approach to treatment that takes into account the physical, emotional, and social factors that contribute to a person’s well-being.

Overall, Maté’s work highlights the importance of understanding the role that trauma can play in a person’s mental and physical health, and the importance of addressing it in order to promote healing and recovery.

“Trauma is not about what happens to you but about what happens within you” Gabor Mate’

This is a common perspective on trauma. It suggests that trauma is not simply a result of external events, but rather, it is the internal, emotional response to those events that can have a lasting impact on a person’s well-being.

This perspective highlights the importance of addressing not just the external events that may have caused trauma, but also the internal emotional and psychological responses to those events. It suggests that in order to effectively address and heal from trauma, it is important to focus on the internal experience and the emotions that were triggered by the traumatic event.

This can involve working with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor, to process and make sense of the emotional responses to the traumatic event, and to develop coping strategies for managing those emotions. By addressing the emotional response to trauma, individuals can work towards healing and recovery.

Helping a Loved One with PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a challenging and overwhelming condition for those who experience it.
Help A Loved One With Ptsd
If you have a loved one who is struggling with PTSD, you may feel unsure of how to best support them. Here are a few tips for how you can help:
  • Educate yourself about PTSD: It can be helpful to learn about PTSD so that you can better understand what your loved one is going through. This can include learning about the symptoms of PTSD, how it is treated, and what may trigger symptoms.
  • Offer emotional support: Being there for your loved one and letting them know that you are there for them can be incredibly helpful. This can involve simply listening to them when they want to talk about their experiences, or providing a supportive and understanding presence when they need it.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help: PTSD can be a complex and difficult condition to manage on one’s own. Encourage your loved one to seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor.
  • Help them develop coping strategies: Working with a therapist or counsellor, your loved one can develop coping strategies that can help them manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. You can support them in implementing these strategies in their daily life.
  • Encourage self-care: Self-care is an important aspect of managing PTSD. Encourage your loved one to take care of themselves by getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities that they find enjoyable and relaxing.

Remember that it is not your responsibility to “fix” your loved one’s PTSD, but rather to support them in their journey towards healing and recovery. It can be a difficult process, but with the right support and treatment, it is possible for individuals with PTSD to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Counselling Help with PTSD

Counselling can be an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan for PTSD and can help individuals learn to manage their symptoms, improve their relationships and functioning, and reduce their risk of future trauma. It is important to work with a mental health professional who is trained in treating PTSD and who can develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.


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