Interventions can be useful when getting a loved one into treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but they should not occur as a first resort. Because victims of PTSD often lack trust, they may hesitate to ask for help, which is why an intervention may be effective. Patients will not want to feel attacked or backed into a corner, so call for professional assistance before planning an intervention.
Recognizing the Symptoms of PTSD
If someone has lived through trauma, she may display symptoms of PTSD that can dwindle and eventually disappear. However, those who show these symptoms for weeks, months and years later likely have PTSD. Recognizing the following symptoms of PTSD can prevent many problems later on:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares
- Avoiding everything related to the trauma
- Extreme anxiety, restlessness
- Emotional arousal, anger, irritability
- Detachment from others, loss of interest in activities and relationships
- Feeling on-guard, alienated or alone
- Depression, hopelessness, limitless future
- Suicidal thoughts, self-destructive behaviors
- Substance abuse
If you recognize any of these symptoms in a loved one, PTSD may be the driving force.
When to Help a Loved One with PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD can appear weeks, months or even years after a traumatic event. Friends and family who recognize the symptoms of PTSD may wonder if they should intervene or not.
PTSD patients are usually very guarded, so discussing their issues can be difficult for them. If this is the case for your loved one, it may help to hold an intervention with a professional. Because the symptoms of PTSD include self-destructive behaviors, suicidal thoughts and violence, it is critical that a struggling victim gets help as soon as possible.
What are the Treatment Options for PTSD?
There are numerous options available when it comes to treating PTSD. Selecting the appropriate treatment program will depend on the patient’s unique recovery needs. PTSD is not a disorder that can be cured with medication alone.
While a physician can prescribe medicines to treat PTSD symptoms such as insomnia or anxiety, the medication does not treat the disorder. Because of this, effective PTSD treatment should consist of a combination of the following treatment methods:
- Prolonged exposure therapy
- Cognitive processing therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Cognitive restructuring
- Family therapy
- Stress inoculation training
- Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
There are ways to treat PTSD and with help your loved one can control her debilitating symptoms.