How to Support Someone with PTSD

Published by Fortem Australia 5 min read
Health & Wellbeing Fortem Mental Health

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is best understood as a traumatic stress injury. It involves reactions to extreme stress and trauma that can affect your thinking, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviour. These are natural responses that usually subside when the stressful event passes.

But with PTSD they get “locked on”. Just like physical injuries, we as humans can be more or less resilient to stress injuries depending on a number of factors. But none of us are immune, and just like elite sports people who can be injured at the peak of their fitness, even the toughest of first responders can incur a traumatic stress injury if a particular thing hits at a particular time.

For further information refer to Understanding PTSD in the Fortem Resource Library.

Someone who is experiencing PTSD may be:

  • Emotionally distant, unable to show feelings, unable to enjoy experiences or to relax

  • Not wanting to talk

  • Avoidant, lethargic, and disinterested in participating with others

  • Sleepless, calling out or thrashing during nightmares

  • Unpredictable, irritable and angry.

  • Families can feel like they are constantly walking on eggshells.

  • Increasing alcohol intake to try to wind down

  • Increasing work hours or responsibilities to try to stay occupied

  • Excessively focused on safety and rules, or appearing to overreact to small things

  • Highly sensitive to noise and rule violations

  • Harsh in parenting style, which may include being overprotective and controlling

How to Support Someone with PTSD

If there is one thing that people with PTSD wish for from those around them, it is understanding. They can often feel isolated in their own private hell, with no way to explain what is going on in their bodies and minds. There are many ways in which you can support them.

To learn more following the link below to Fortem Australia's article on supporting someone with PTSD. 

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