Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma can come in many shapes and forms. No matter the form or variety of possible trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very real to those who experience it. There are many different scenarios that can trigger PTSD in an individual. Some possible scenarios are veterans returning from war, serious accidents (like a serious car crash), sexual assault, cases of domestic or childhood abuse, or serious health problems like a diagnosis of cancer. If you know someone who has gone through difficult experiences like these, it is important to offer your support. Just because an individual goes through these experiences, doesn’t mean that they will develop PTSD. Each individual is different and will cope with trauma in different ways.

Supporting People with PTSD

If you know someone who is struggling with PTSD or if you are suffering from PTSD, it is important to understand the nature of the illness, so that you can better learn to cope in situations that might serve as triggers to an individual’s past. One of the most important things that you can provide for someone who has PTSD is social support and lending an attentive ear. This includes doing activities that you would normally do with that person, being patient, and letting them come to you when they want to talk about their experiences and how they feel.

Understanding Triggers

People with PTSD often have triggers both external and internal that can make leading their day to day life difficult. Examples of external triggers are things like smells or sounds, certain kinds of weather, certain dates or times, confined situations, or anything that can be associated with the traumatic event. Internal triggers mostly have to do with physical discomforts, bodily sensations (like reminders through pain or injuries) and emotional responses to certain situations can all be triggers. Understanding and learning another person’s triggers means that you can help them
manage their triggers and how they react in certain situations. It is also important to understand how they react to their own triggers and coping methods, so you can support them during those times.

Help Is Out There

There are many resources for people who are suffering with PTSD and sometimes, no matter how hard we try, they might need help from external sources. Make sure that the person you know gets the proper care and treatment that they need, through different forms of therapy, national helplines, or group therapy meetings. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please feel free to contact the professional team at Lifeline Connections for help! Getting yourself help, whether it is through self-help or by reaching out to professionals is an important part of recognizing that you are struggling and is a good step forward to get the help that you need. You can visit Lifelineconnections.org or call 360.397.8246 for more information.

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