Weekly Tips & Insights

Identifying PTSD In Loved Ones

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects people differently and, therefore, can be difficult to identify in others and even in ourselves. Though a diagnosis can only be provided by a medical professional or mental health expert, there are some common situations, triggers and symptoms that can suggest a person may be suffering from this complex mental health condition.


Here are some common symptoms of PTSD that can help you better assess a loved one's mental health:


Re-experiencing trauma - reliving a traumatic event in the form of nightmares or flashbacks, often recurring. A person re-experiencing trauma may endure intense anxiety and physical symptoms of stress like sweating, shaking and an elevated heart rate.



Hyperarousal - feeling jittery and on edge. Individuals experiencing hyperarousal may have trouble concentrating and sleeping.



Avoidance - refusing to participate in events or activities that may trigger PTSD symptoms with reminders of the trauma. Extreme forms of avoidance can deeply impact a person’s quality of life.



Substance abuse - self-medicating with alcohol, illegal substances, or taking prescription drugs in excess. Though a person may turn to substances to cope with grief, someone who relies on substances for the ability to perform daily functions indicates substance abuse and addiction.



Distortion - exaggerated beliefs or inaccurate recollections of a traumatic event. A person may experience misguided blame of themselves or others for a traumatic experience.




Detachment - prolonged inability to connect with others, participate in activities or experience positive emotions. A person may disassociate themselves from their emotions, by viewing their trauma as a third party observer, as if it happened to someone else.



These are just a few common examples of the ways PTSD manifests in those who have experienced trauma. Each person has their own individual way of coping with this mental health condition, but being aware of these symptoms can help someone identify the need for support for a loved one.



Sources:

Recognizing PTSD and Early Warning Signs

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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