How can I help a loved one who has been diagnosed with PTSD?
( from the Canadian Mental Health Association)
When someone is diagnosed with PTSD, loved ones can also experience a lot of difficulties. You may feel like your loved one is a different person, worry that things will never be normal, or wonder what will happen in the future. Here are some tips to help you cope:
- Start by learning more about PTSD.
- People who experience PTSD may withdraw from family and friends. Even if your loved one doesn’t want to talk, you can still remind them that you are there to listen when they’re ready.
- Understand that behaviours related to PTSD—like avoiding certain situations or reacting angrily to a minor problem—are not about you. They are about the injury.
- Ask what you can do to help, but don’t push unwanted advice.
- Try to put your own feelings into words and encourage your loved one to do the same. It’s easier to solve problems or look at conflicts when you know what’s really going on.
- While it’s usually not a good idea to support behaviours that create problems, it’s still important to support your loved one’s overall movement toward wellness. This balance is not always easy, but you need to respect your own boundaries, too.
- Take care of your own wellness, and seek support for yourself if you experience difficulties.
- If a loved one’s PTSD is affecting other family members, it may be helpful to seek family counselling.