June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day, making it a great time to put it in the spotlight, and offer tips for how to help support those who suffer from the condition. The more people know about PTSD and how to help support those with it, the better the outcome will be. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impacts those who have it and their loved ones. Knowing how to support their loved ones with PTSD can make a big difference.
"PTSD is something that we as a nation need to become more familiar with to help support those who need it," explains Laura Purdy, MD, MBA. "I've helped many people with PTSD, as well as those who care about loved ones that suffer from PTSD, so I want to get the information out there to help as many people as possible."
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD can develop after exposure to a potentially traumatic event. Those who experience the condition may have ongoing frightening thoughts and memories of the event, sleep problems, feel detached, and be easily startled. It can also significantly impact the person’s ability to work, be social, and find peace at home.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 8 out of every 100 women, and 4 out of every 100 men in America, will have PTSD at some time in their life. They report that women are more likely to experience PTSD from sexual assault instances, and veterans are more likely to have the condition than civilians.
Dr. Purdy offers these helpful tips for those supporting individuals with PTSD:
Be informed. Take the time to learn about PTSD, including its causes and symptoms. It’s important for people to know, it’s not the victims fault. Understanding the condition will help you provide better support to those who are affected. Loved ones should realize people suffering from PTSD is no fault of their own, so be easy on them, they often blame themselves, but it's not their fault.
Foster open dialogue. Create a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to share their experiences. Encourage honest conversations to reduce stigma and promote healing. For people suffering with PTSD, seek out people that have had the same issues so you don’t feel like an outsider. Find your people, it is helpful to talk about the trauma with others that have also gone through it.
Practice active listening. When someone shares their story, be present and attentive. Active listening shows empathy and validates their feelings, fostering a sense of support.
Encourage professional help. Advocate for seeking professional help when necessary. A qualified therapist or psychiatrist can provide specialized care and treatment options for managing PTSD. Search for the right therapist until you find one, and don’t forget to consider virtual appointments, which offer a great way to get therapy.
Promote self-care. Encourage individuals with PTSD to prioritize self-care activities that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and engaging in hobbies they enjoy.
Remember your needs. It is easy to become focused on supporting the person with PTSD while forgetting about your self-care. It's essential to make your health a priority, too.
"PTSD is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly," added Dr. Purdy. "It is important to get professional help when needed and for all of us to continue to work toward making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families affected by this condition.”
Dr. Purdy is a veteran now known as “America’s Favorite Doctor” because she is licensed in all 50 states, including D.C. and through her virtual healthcare clinics can service thousands of Americans. Her services have helped many people who have PTSD, as well as a variety of other conditions. Her practice utilizes advanced technology to provide people with top-level primary care no matter where they live in the country. To get more information, visit the site at: https://drlaurapurdy.com.