How to Talk to Someone About Your Loved One’s PTSD for Understanding and Support

Someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder may not be in an empowered position to advocate for themselves and seek the life-changing treatment they need. If someone you care about is suffering, you can be their bridge to recovery by reaching out to talk to compassionate mental health professionals. Right around the corner are opportunities for healing in a safe and empowering treatment environment.

One of the worst things you can do for someone suffering from PTSD is to pressure them into talking about their agony. The symptoms of this mental health disorder are such that a person is reliving the original trauma over and over—in one form or another. While it’s true that the healing path is one that actively transforms their relationship to the trauma, the process must be handled very carefully. With post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s often best for a caring family member or friend to reach out on the person’s behalf to discuss their suffering and open the door to promising treatment.

When considering how to talk about PTSD, there are right and wrong ways to talk to your loved one. But you needn’t be apprehensive when reaching out to treatment specialists to share this person’s struggles and to learn about the next steps forward. They can help to reassure you of the empowering options for healing. And, in fact, through the treatment process, they can even help you learn how to talk effectively to your family member about their traumatic stress and pain. Let the apprehension you feel about your loved one’s suffering to be your momentum toward healing change.

How to Talk About PTSD on Behalf of a Loved One Who Is Struggling


Oftentimes, people do not understand the severity of trauma disorders. They may minimize the effects or take for granted that someone should be able to manage the aftermath better. But this isn’t the case at all with mental health professionals. On the contrary, clinical specialists understand from extensive experience how PTSD can completely destabilize a person’s life, their relationships, their emotions, their connection with themselves.

It’s important that someone can make that critical contact with a supportive care team. And if you think someone is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, you can be the one to make the connection. They may need you to help build that bridge at a time when it is hard enough getting through the day, wading through the stressors and triggers that surround them.

There are a couple of important angles to the conversation about your loved one’s experience with trauma. And these talking points can help you find traction as you reach out for help.

You Can Share Your Observations of Their Symptoms

Even if the person you care about doesn’t yet have a diagnosis of PTSD, you can still talk about what you perceive they are going through. You can mention any distressing symptoms that you are aware of, such as flashbacks, nightmares, other re-experiencing of trauma, anxiety, depression, irritability, paranoia, withdrawal, or any other negative effects on their life. It’s also very helpful to share your observations of how their life has been altered by their distressing symptoms. Reflect on their social, vocational, and other limitations, and how their life and their personality have changed over time.

You Can Ask About the Treatment Options Available

It is also very important that you learn about the treatment options available when you reach out to talk about post-traumatic stress disorder. Right now, it may be difficult to visualize the road forward, but a mental health professional can give you a clear idea of what to expect from treatment.

Talking about the trauma opens doors to life-changing help and long-term recovery. When your loved one is prevented from talking about their suffering openly due to their traumatic symptoms, shame, or a difficulty expressing something so overwhelming, you can be the bridge toward clinical and therapeutic support.

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The Opportunities in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment


Treatment specialists already understand much about post-traumatic stress disorder, how distressing it can be, and the treatment options that work best to initiate recovery. But each person’s case is still entirely unique. The leading treatment programs will design an individualized treatment strategy for your loved one. Clinicians will take into account the known extent of the trauma they experienced, their symptoms, any co-occurring disorders, and their known triggers. It’s not always possible to trace back to the cause of someone’s PTSD. But it is always possible to lay a path to recovery.

Based on an individual’s particular needs and challenges, experienced clinicians will create a treatment plan to help the client reshape their relationship to the trauma. They will learn positive strategies for managing stress and triggers. They will practice self-expression and ways to build healthy relationships. Clinicians may determine that medications can be helpful. Holistic, recreational, and artistic therapies can further promote healthy coping skills and somatic healing. But the primary treatment focus will be on steady, gradual progress in therapy.

Talking about their trauma is a really important step toward healing, but it’s important that they have the opportunity to do so in a safe and supportive environment. Even at home, the common triggers may be such that they are unable to really open up and approach their pain. And, not only that—for their psychological security, it’s important that they have a caring professional to guide them in transforming their trauma into more productive forms of thought and feeling. In a long-term treatment setting, your loved one has the time and space to unravel their distress slowly where the risk of retraumatization is minimized.

You can be the bridge between their debilitating isolation and a more positive relationship with their trauma and with all other elements of life around them—by connecting them with life-changing PTSD treatment. Dismantling the mental and emotional walls that come with post-traumatic stress disorder can make way for broad possibilities in life that had previously been blocked by the trauma. If you can imagine the possibilities even while your loved one is immersed in hopelessness, then you can help to empower them along the way.

BrightQuest offers comprehensive residential treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned program and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward recovery.