Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an extremely challenging condition. The best way for anyone to overcome their troubles with PTSD is through constant support. This can put a significant amount of pressure on the person caring for the PTSD sufferer. The person typically caring most for a person overcoming PTSD is a spouse or close relative. Because of the love the caregiver has for the PTSD sufferer, watching the person go through the pain of the condition, while also providing around the clock support can wear on a caregiver quickly.
Another condition called caregiver burden has been shown to come out of taking care of a person suffering from PTSD. This burden is triggered by handling difficult tasks, such as finances, loss of friends, lack of intimacy, and the other symptoms that go along with PTSD. What has made this even more challenging is that studies have shown that PTSD sufferers whose caregiver has experienced this burden have had symptoms become worse. Therefore, it is important that your health as the caregiver is top notch so that you can provide the best support possible.
Here are a few ways you as a caregiver for a PTSD sufferer can keep your own health in consideration as you help your loved one overcome the challenges of this disorder.
Understand the basics of the disorder – The first step to knowing how to best take care of a person with PTSD is to understand the basics of the disorder. While you as a caregiver are more than likely familiar with PTSD, it is still important to continuously read up on the disorder to gain a better understanding of how to react in certain situations and why things happen the way they do.
Know where certain symptoms come from – Symptoms can range from violent behavior to isolation. These symptoms can be difficult to overcome and can make a caregiver feel out of control when they are unsure of how to react. However, understanding specific triggers of symptoms and why a person is feeling or acting the way they are can make it more manageable in the long run. This will allow the caregiver to provide the love and support necessary or to simply back away in some situations making it easier to care for the PTSD sufferer over time.
Attend individual support groups with other caregivers – It is important to take time for you as a caregiver. One of the best ways to do this is to attend a support group where you can share stories with people who are experiencing the same situations as you are. This will allow you to connect with others who can understand what you are going through and may be able to offer helpful tips that you can use later on to ease your burden.
Visit a couples counselor to strengthen the relationship – It is equally important that your relationship with your spouse strengthens as the healing process takes place. This can be achieved with the help of a couples counselor who can guide both you and your spouse as you both cope with PTSD. Visiting a specialized counselor is generally best. Talk to people in the local support group about who they use and get recommendations so you can get started early on with the right person.
PTSD is a difficult disease and one that may never be fully overcome. Still, with some help and support from you, your loved one can get the care they need to manage symptoms more effectively and still strengthen your relationship.