Does Your Partner Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be difficult for the whole family. Due to the nature of the disease, relationships are impacted particularly hard and their secondary effects often fall unfortunately on partners. Your spouse can “just not feel like them anymore”, but it must be remembered these are symptoms of the disease.
The disease can also be an underlying cause for alcohol or drug abuse. Having PTSD increases the likelihood of abusing or becoming addicted to alcohol and other drugs. As many as three fourths of people who have PTSD also develop substance abuse problems. By the nature of these issues too, they can be hard on families and partners.
But there is help. PTSD, as well as alcohol and drug abuse and addiction are treatable diseases. In the most advanced or severe stages these diseases most often have to be treated by a professional, but help is out there. Read on to see what you may expect from a partner that has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how to handle a relationship when these symptoms appear.
What To Expect From Someone With PTSD
People with PTSD often have trouble forming relationships with others, and previous relationships like marriages can be strained. A few of the hallmarks of PTSD in relationships include:
- Feelings of anxiousness in relationships
- Reduced capacity to trust in relationships
- Outbursts of anger or sadness at partners and family members
- Thinking others “just can’t understand”
- Reduced ability to talk about problems and problem solve
- Changes in mood, such as anxiety or hypervigilance
- Trouble sleeping and nightmares
- Increased dependence on partners and family members
- Drinking and drug problems
- Loss of interest in partner and family activities
Not all people with PTSD will display all of these symptoms, but oftentimes many are present, even if contradictory.
How To Handle A Relationship With A Partner Who Has PTSD
Being in a relationship with a partner who has PTSD can be challenging. Sometimes a partner with PTSD can be pushed away as the sufferer is fearful of getting close to another. Challenges in communication can also be present.
But remember, your partner is worth it and these are symptoms of a disease— a disease that can be treated. It is helpful to remember that these hurtful things are a facet of the disease, not your partner themselves. Remembering this can help you understand your own feelings and can aid healing the hurt your partner might have, or could, cause.
Below you’ll find some ways to help your partner with PTSD, and deal with a relationship with someone who has PTSD:
Remember, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disease. It can happen to anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Try not to blame your partner for actions that are hurtful, while maintaining your own boundaries. It can be hard to understand the traumatic event itself, but you can work on understanding the disease and the ways it presents itself.
Encourage Talking About Feelings
Talking about what your partner is feeling, and keeping open lines of communication, are important. Your partner may not want to talk about his or her feelings each time, but remember to give them the opportunity. And when they do want to open up, listen. Remember to listen at least as much as you talk.
Help Them Seek Help
One extremely helpful thing you can do is help your loved one seek help for PTSD, alcoholism, or drug abuse. You can research what doctors and treatment facilities are available in your area, how insurance or other money issues might affect treatment, and you can research the disease and its symptoms themselves.
Bring In Professional Help
Oftentimes, survivors of trauma cannot help themselves, and they need professional aid. Consider consulting a doctor or treatment facility on your partner’s behalf. Helping them get help or getting a professional involved is almost always a good idea and can prevent enabling from becoming (as much of) a problem too.
Acute symptoms of PTSD are often caused by “triggers” or situations that remind the survivor of the traumatic event. You can work to understand your partner’s triggers, and then try to minimize or avoid them. If your partner is triggered by fireworks, for example, you can plan a trip during Independence Day where you know they’ll be less likely.
Develop Daily Routines
One thing that can help with PTSD are daily routines. Because PTSD can cause changes in sleeping and eating routines, helping your partner stick to a routine can be a great benefit to treating the disease.
Don’t Minimize Feelings
Remember, your partner is experiencing a disease and has gone through a trauma “outside of normal human experience”. Don’t minimize their thoughts or feelings or brush them aside. They are important to your loved one, and they should be important to you as well.
Help For Those Whose Partner Has PTSD
If you need help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or associated issues like drug and alcohol abuse, contact us at Palm Beach Interventions. We can help to treat alcohol and drug abuse, as well as underlying causes such as PTSD. Remember, these are treatable diseases, and we are here to help.