Apr. 8th 2019 Advice / information

How can I help someone with post-traumatic stress disorder?

Here are some suggestions regarding how a loved one can provide support to the person who has experienced a traumatic event:

Encourage them to talk about the event

Why? Because an open and non guilt inducing discussion could help them to see events from novel points of views and help them to better process what they have been through. However, it is important not to force the person to talk about it, but simply to encourage them to do so.

Do not negatively criticize the victim’s reactions or the time they take to recover from the event

Why? Because negative criticism is often experienced as aggression by victims and can slow down the recovery process rather than accelerate it. It is important to remember that everyone has their own recovery rate, ranging from a few weeks to several months. So be patient!

Do not minimize the magnitude of the event or its consequencesEncourage them to seek professional help if necessary

Why? Because being told “It’s not that bad”, “You exaggerate your reactions” or “Time will fix things” generates guilt or shame rather than well-being. By minimizing what the person is going through, they may feel that their difficulties do not merit recognition, which will stop them from seeking professional help or applying any strategy that may have contributed to their recovery.

Encourage them to seek professional help if necessary

Why? Because victims, especially men, may tend to want to overcome their post-traumatic reactions on their own. In some cases, the state of distress can deteriorate and develop into post-traumatic stress disorder. The earlier the victim seeks professional help, the more likely they are to be able to prevent the deterioration of post-traumatic reactions. You can help the victim by identifying and suggesting appropriate help resources.

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