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Plant City Observer Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016 2 years ago

How to help someone with PTSD

Being understanding and offering support is the best way to treat someone with PTSD.

The issue of post-traumatic stress disorder remains a current topic because of our military members who returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether they are current service members or veterans, some of these heroes saw events which they may find difficult to accept and process.

They report flashbacks, which are uninvited memories that may strike the person at any time. These memories sometimes come from triggers in the everyday environment. These triggers could be a place or situation that causes the person to remember a traumatic event. When someone gets triggered in this way, it feels as if the original trauma is happening again.

Veterans may report nightmares. They may flinch from loud noises and be hyper-vigilant or too alert in unknown surroundings. They may report a lack of confidence in adjusting to civilian life or diminished trust in other people.

These PTSD symptoms act as a signal that the person needs to confront what they experienced and to acknowledge the associated emotions.

Expressing our gratitude to current and former military members helps to reinforce the admirable commitment and devotion which their service to us expresses. It is helpful to hire and mentor former veterans, while recognizing the unique perspectives they bring to work.

Most of us know someone, either civilian or military, who has undergone a traumatic time. They stand in need of our support and encouragement. A person who knows they can recover from an incident with sympathetic people who listen is on the way to treating emotional wounds.

With the needed treatment, someone with PTSD is more than capable of performing any necessary activities. People with this condition have learned how to handle high levels of stress and have the ability to persevere in challenging situations. They have coped with dramatic scenarios which most people may never face.

Taking the time to extend concern and listen to someone who has experienced events like these is an invaluable contribution to the well­ being of that person. Our nation is undergoing a period of time that may produce unsettling emotions in people. It helps to know that the hope we find in comfort from others can sustain and strengthen our country.

Scott Toler is a licensed mental health counselor living in Plant City. He can be reached at [email protected]. com.

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