Post-traumatic stress disorder is impacting more Americans than ever. In fact, PTSD United says that 24.4 million adults are suffering right now. This serious mental illness makes daily life very difficult. Specifically, it causes scary flashbacks, dreams, and visions that leave people shaken. Over time, individuals with PTSD become increasingly depressed by haunting memories. Thus, it’s important to know how to help someone with PTSD through PTSD treatment. Crestview Recovery is here to help you do so.
Symptoms of PTSD
People with PTSD often show symptoms within six months of a horrifying event. This event could be anything that genuinely terrifies them. The most common symptoms of PTSD include the following:
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Heavy drinking and drug use
- Desperate attempts to avoid thinking about a traumatic event
- Feeling trapped
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lashing out
- Constant, pervasive fear
- Reckless behavior
- Withdrawing from others
For example, PTSD is common after war, abuse, rape, terror attacks, and disasters like hurricanes. Unfortunately, experiencing such violence actually changes the brain’s structure. Of course, PTSD is a sign of survival, not weakness. Plus, there are many ways to help these strong people.
PTSD & Substance Use Disorder Run in Families
The effects of PTSD impact more than the person suffering from the condition; PTSD is a family condition. If you have unhealed trauma in your life that affects the way you treat the people around you, a Portland PTSD and addiction treatment center can help you regain control. Experiencing trauma shapes impacts our personalities; healing from trauma helps ensure that we don’t pass on unhealthy coping mechanisms to our loved ones.
How To Help a Person with PTSD
If you know someone with PTSD, extending a helping hand may help save someone’s life. Offer patients emotional support whenever they’re ready to talk. Listen intently without judgment when they share their story. Conversely, never tell the person to move on or to get over it. Instead, build a trusting relationship with open dialogue. Further, believe in them and point out their great strengths.
Generally, how to help someone with PTSD involves managing their triggers. To explain, you should ask about their triggers and take measures to minimize them. Likewise, start replacing bad memories with amazing ones. For instance, try new hobbies like yoga or painting together. Emotional outbursts will still happen, though, so make sure you’re calm and they’re safe. Seek treatment for PTSD immediately if you see suicidal behavior signs, such as:
- Long-lasting sadness
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Reckless driving
- Withdrawal from family
- Committing self-harm
- Giving away belongings
- Speaking about death
First of all, the best answer to how to help someone with PTSD is therapy. Accordingly, you should gently encourage the person to seek professional help. Usually, doctors suggest cognitive therapy, which helps change distorted thoughts and fears. Similarly, trauma methods like EMDR and exposure therapy make individuals gradually feel safe. Not to mention, there are medications that should be taken carefully to prevent addiction.
Has your loved one been struggling to cope with trauma? Crestview Recovery is your source for holistic therapy intervention. Notably, our Portland clinic offers dual diagnosis treatment for both PTSD and addiction at the same time. Indeed, our master’s level therapists work to improve all aspects of our clients’ health. As such, we maintain a warm, cozy atmosphere where clients can share their struggles without judgment. Our healing methods include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Group therapy program
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy program
- Mindfulness meditation therapy
The High-Risk Hypothesis in PTSD
One explanation for why people with post-traumatic stress disorder so often become addicted to alcohol and drugs is the high-risk hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that people who are unable to cope with unhealed trauma may use drugs as an escape. The following may be indicators that someone is using drugs or alcohol to cope:
- Frequent and heavy intoxication
- Hopelessness and despair
- Recurring thoughts and worries
Subsequently, the lifestyle of people who use substances in dangerous amounts typically involves spending time in dangerous environments or participating in high-risk activities associated with obtaining or using drugs. This may increase the likelihood that the person will experience a traumatic event and develop PTSD down the road.
How Can an Anxiety Treatment Program Help?
While a patient is part of an anxiety treatment program, professional medical staff and counselors can thoroughly observe and carefully interview them to determine if they have a social anxiety disorder. This is the first step to an official diagnosis and to discover what triggers a patient’s anxiety. When properly diagnosed, social anxiety disorder responds well to treatment.
Don’t underestimate the severity of PTSD. Instead, enlist trained professionals who know exactly how to help someone with PTSD. Markedly, Crestview Recovery is one of the few Pacific Northwest facilities treating both PTSD and addiction. So, call 866.262.0531 today to schedule a mental health assessment.