Coping with family members’ post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult because PTSD can have a significant impact on the family. Studies have shown that compared with families with parents without PTSD, families with parents with PTSD will have more anxiety, unhappiness, marital problems and behavioral problems among the children in the family.
This finding is not entirely surprising. PTSD symptoms can cause a person to behave in ways that are difficult for family members to understand. Their behavior may appear weird, weird, or disturbing.
The role of the family
Families can positively or negatively affect the PTSD symptoms of loved ones. The first step in living with and helping a loved one with PTSD is to understand the symptoms of PTSD and understand how these symptoms affect behavior.
Re-experience the symptoms
People with PTSD sometimes relive traumatic events, also known as re-experiencing symptoms.
Symptoms of re-experiencing PTSD include:
- Often have disturbing thoughts or memories of traumatic events
- Often have nightmares
- Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event has happened again is sometimes called a “flashback”
- When thinking of a traumatic event, there is a very strong sense of pain
- The body reacts when thinking of a traumatic event, such as a surge in heart rate or sweating
Thoughts and memories of traumatic events are easily triggered or brought up. Many things can be used as triggers, such as certain words, sights, sounds or smells. Therefore, people with PTSD may not always be present. Frequent thoughts may interfere with concentration or the ability to conduct conversations.
In addition, because thoughts and memories about traumatic events are easily triggered, people with PTSD may become upset quickly and easily. For people without PTSD, these painful or anxious experiences seem completely unexpected.
Some people with PTSD may also behave as if the traumatic event has happened again. They may think you are a completely different person. When this happens, people with PTSD don’t necessarily know what they are doing because they are in a separated state, which means they cannot function normally.
Another symptom of PTSD is avoidance, which means avoiding anything that reminds you of a traumatic event.
Avoidance symptoms include:
- Try to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations about traumatic events
- Try to avoid places or people that remind you of traumatic events
- It is difficult to remember important parts of a traumatic event
- Lost interest in important activities that were once active
- Feel alienated from others
- Encounter difficulties and have positive feelings such as happiness or love
- It feels as if your life might be shortened
Even though a person with PTSD may spare no effort to avoid certain people, places, or activities, it is not because the person is no longer interested in them, but because these things have somehow triggered the traumatic event Thoughts and memories.
Family members may also feel that their loved ones with PTSD are emotionally isolated or alienated from the world. This is not a personal choice for PTSD patients.It’s been found that people with PTSD experience something called Emotional numbness. As the name suggests, emotional numbness refers to the inability to possess certain emotions. Emotional numbness may interfere with a person’s ability to experience or express love and joy.
Symptoms of excessive wakefulness
Feeling nervous or over-excited is another PTSD symptom.
Symptoms of excessive arousal include:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feeling more irritable or outbursts of anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling on alert all the time, or danger lurking in every corner
- Nervous or easily frightened
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, you may feel that you and your family are in danger. You may always be in a ready state. As a result, you may become more irritable or irritable. Some people with PTSD, especially those who have PTSD due to fighting, may also think that certain places or situations are unsafe, such as subways or busy, crowded places. Then these places or situations will be avoided at all costs.
What a family can do
There are many things a family can do to deal with a loved one’s PTSD, including:
- Understanding that behavior does not necessarily equate to real feelings. Your loved one may want to go out with friends and family, but is afraid of encountering disturbing thoughts and memories. It is important for family members to understand the symptoms of their loved ones and the impact of these symptoms on behavior.
- Learn about triggers. A family also needs to be aware of the triggers of their loved ones. For example, if you know that nightly news on TV will always trigger the symptoms of PTSD in your loved one, then you may wish to schedule other activities during this time so that your loved one cannot experience this specific Triggers.
- Consider changing the routine. Family members may also need to change their daily routines based on the symptoms of their loved ones. For example, if your loved ones often have nightmares, try to find a way to wake them up without touching them. Some people with PTSD may react as if they have been attacked.
- receive help. Support groups and/or couples counseling may be a good way to learn how to communicate with loved ones and cope with PTSD symptoms. They can also help you find the best way to encourage your loved ones to seek help (if they don’t already have one).
Family support is essential
The symptom of PTSD is that the body tries to cope with extreme stress. Recovery from PTSD can be a long and difficult road. In the recovery journey of your loved one, the support and understanding of your family is invaluable.