What is PTSD?
A wide variety of symptoms may be signs you are experiencing PTSD:
Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
Having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again
Feeling emotionally cut off from others
Feeling numb or losing interest in things you used to care about
Thinking that you are always in danger
Feeling anxious, jittery, or irritated
Experiencing a sense of panic that something bad is about to happen
Having difficulty sleeping
Having trouble keeping your mind on one thing
Having a hard time relating to and getting along with your spouse, family, or friends
It’s not just the symptoms of PTSD but also how you may react to them that can disrupt your life. You may:
Frequently avoid places or things that remind you of what happened
Consistent drinking or use of drugs to numb your feelings
Consider harming yourself or others
Start working all the time to occupy your mind
Pull away from other people and become isolated
How can I help a friend or relative who has PTSD?
If you know someone who has PTSD, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do to help a friend or relative is to help him or her get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment for your friend or relative and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if his or her symptoms don’t get better after 6 to 8 weeks.
To help a friend or relative, you can:
Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
Learn about PTSD so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing.
Talk to your friend or relative, and listen carefully.
Listen to feelings your friend or relative expresses and be understanding of situations that may trigger PTSD symptoms.
Invite your friend or relative out for positive distractions such as walks, outings, and other activities.
Remind your friend or relative that, with time and treatment, he or she can get better.
Never ignore comments about your friend or relative harming him or herself, and report such comments to your friend’s or relative’s therapist or doctor.
Reach out. Call a friend, family or someone you trust.