Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a person has been through a traumatic event. It can result from personal trauma, such as war, natural disasters, or abuse. You can also suffer PTSD after witnessing a shocking or tragic situation.
It’s common for people to go through a brief state of depression or anxiety after going through something like that, but someone suffering from PTSD continues to relive the trauma. They avoid people, thoughts, or situations related to the event and have symptoms of excessive emotions.
Dr. Hadi Estakhri of Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health is a PTSD expert. He provides a safe space for patients dealing with PTSD, along with their partners. Helping a partner cope with PTSD can be a challenging task if you aren’t sure where to begin.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD puts a strain on even the strongest, most loving relationship. By knowing what to look for, you avoid growing anger and frustration. If your partner isn’t already actively seeking treatment, you may notice some behaviors that indicate PTSD. These include:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Intrusive memories
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling detached
- Trouble sleeping
This is only a short list of signs you might notice. Your partner may feel victimized a second time if you fail to understand or acknowledge the situation. Once you realize what your partner is dealing with, you can begin to react in healthy, helpful ways.
Helping your partner cope
There are many ways that you can help your partner cope with PTSD even though you might feel helpless.
Be a good listener
Don’t make assumptions or interrupt your partner once they start talking. Don’t try to give advice or tell them you know how they feel. Let them talk about things in their own time, and don’t push the subject if they aren’t ready. Sometimes just talking about the trauma to another person can alleviate stress and make them feel less alone.
Learn your partner’s triggers
If certain noises, sensations, or smells trigger anxiety or flashbacks, you need to be well aware of them and ensure your home remains a safe space for your loved one. This way, you can avoid taking your partner to places that could prompt a negative reaction.
Keep a consistent routine
Being predictable can help your partner feel safe in a stable environment. Keep commitments and try leading a normal life by doing regular things like going grocery shopping or seeing a movie.
Learn healthy ways to manage your own stress
Helping a partner cope with PTSD is a recovery process that takes patience. The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to help your partner with their recovery. Understand that you may still get angry and frustrated, but know that having negative feelings will pass, and it doesn’t change your love for them.
Encourage your partner to seek outside help. Dr. Estakhri helps relieve the symptoms of PTSD and provides mental clarity and relief. Call us at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health to make an appointment today. You can also use our convenient online scheduling tool to reach out for help.