Living with someone who has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be challenging. PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It can have a significant impact on a person’s life, including their relationships with others. In this blog, we will explore some tips for living with someone with PTSD.
- Educate yourself: One of the best things you can do when living with someone with PTSD is to educate yourself about the condition. This can help you understand what they are going through and how best to support them. Two reputable sources of information are:
- Be patient and understanding: PTSD can cause a range of symptoms, including irritability, anxiety, and depression. It is important to be patient and understanding when your loved one is struggling with these symptoms. It is also important to be patient and understanding with yourself as it can be stressful living with someone with PTSD.
- Create a safe and supportive environment: People with PTSD often feel unsafe or on edge. Creating a safe and supportive environment can help them feel more comfortable and reduce their symptoms. However it is also important to not reinforce avoidance, which is the significant symptom of PTSD. For example, If the person in your house with PTSD is not participating in day to day tasks such as shopping. It is okay to want them to participate. If they can’t, encouraging them to get therapy for their PTSD could change that. If you support by doing more for them, the risk is that it reinforces doing less on their behalf.
- Encourage them to seek treatment: PTSD is a treatable condition, and there are many effective therapies available. Encourage your loved one to seek treatment and support them in their journey to recovery. The most researched therapies for trauma are called trauma focussed therapies and include Prolonged Exposure (PE), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
- Practice self-care: Living with someone with PTSD can be stressful and overwhelming. It is important to practice self-care and seek support for yourself when needed. Mental health support is an important part of living with someone with PTSD. If you are experiencing “walking on eggshells” talking with a psychologist can help you manage the situation and to move forward.
Living with someone with PTSD can be challenging, but with the right support and understanding, it is possible to maintain a healthy and loving relationship. If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, it is important to seek professional help. The Centre for Clinical Psychology in Melbourne offers evidence-based treatments for PTSD and other mental health conditions. We focus on providing Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) to assist people to recover from PTSD. Contact us today to book an appointment and start your journey to recovery.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967