Help! I Think My Loved One Has PTSD

Roughly 6% of Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point during their lifetimes, with symptoms that can wreak havoc on everyday activities and life in general. Fortunately, treatment can help, and that begins by recognizing the symptoms of PTSD.

PTSD is a mental health disorder that happens following exposure to a deeply traumatizing or frightening event. While feelings of anxiety or fear are common during a traumatic exposure, PTSD causes lingering feelings of fear or stress long after any actual threat has subsided.

At Bowman Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California, our team offers PTSD treatment aimed at relieving feelings of anxiety and preventing symptoms from recurring. If you think your loved one might be suffering from PTSD, this post will help you learn what symptoms to look for and what you can do to support them in their treatment.

PTSD: Signs to look for

Like other mental health disorders, PTSD is defined by a set of criteria described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. In addition to firsthand or secondhand exposure to the traumatic event, to be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must exhibit the symptoms listed below.

Intrusive thoughts

People with PTSD often relive the trauma through involuntary, intrusive thoughts. These thoughts can occur spontaneously, or they may occur when the person is exposed to a sound, smell, or other stimulus or cue associated with the traumatic event. They may have bad dreams or nightmares where they experience the event or aspects of it.

Avoidance behaviors

People with PTSD will go to great lengths to avoid places, events, and even people who remind them of the traumatic event or trigger PTSD symptoms. They also typically avoid discussing the event or anything associated with it. Sometimes, people turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of avoiding or dealing with thoughts and stresses.

Changes in thinking patterns or mood

PTSD also affects your mood and the way you feel about yourself and life in general. People with PTSD frequently experience symptoms of depression, including feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth, and even guilt. These feelings make it difficult to entertain positive thoughts, and they can take a toll on relationships at home and at work.

Changes in behavior or mood

People with PTSD may be irritable or have angry outbursts, particularly when stressed. They tend to be hypervigilant and worried, startling easily. Problems with concentration, memory, and thinking (cognition) can occur, and many people also have problems sleeping. These changes can have a major impact on the person’s social life, relationships, and work performance.

Treating PTSD

Like any mental health disorder, PTSD requires custom treatment tailored to each person’s unique needs and symptoms. Most people with PTSD benefit from a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes to support better health and wellness.

How we can help

Medications to treat PTSD vary, and can include:

Medications can help relieve anxious thoughts, improve coping, and make psychotherapy more effective.

As with medications, there are different psychotherapy options that can help as well. Many people benefit from “talk” therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy to help them learn more positive ways of thinking.

If these methods aren’t effective in relieving symptoms, we may recommend transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which is an outpatient, noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic waves to optimize brain activity.

How you can help

Medical treatment plays a critical role in helping a loved one manage their PTSD and develop tools to lead a happier, healthier life, but having a strong support network of family and friends is important, too.

As with any chronic health issue, providing that support means walking a fine line between being supportive and being overbearing. This guide from the US Department of Veterans Affairs can help, and so can our team. 

In addition to providing treatment for your loved one, we can help you learn how to be a supportive friend or partner. Plus, we can help you find resources so you can feel supported in your own journey with your loved one.

PTSD help for your loved one

PTSD can take a huge toll on a person’s quality of life, but fortunately, treatment can help. To learn more about the PTSD treatments our team offers, call 310-276-4003 to book an appointment with Bowman Medical Group today.

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