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How to Help Someone with Trauma

jrtempleton - January 30, 2019

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Trauma can take many forms. Life-threatening experiences, war zone situations, terrorist attacks, sexual assault and domestic violence can all leave psychological wounds that linger long after physical ones have healed.

But you don’t have to experience physical pain to be traumatized. Just the threat can be enough. Witnessing others suffering a traumatic event or even seeing the aftermath can cause trauma. Severe economic instability like the sudden loss of a job can also be traumatic.

If you have a loved one that is suffering from trauma, you might feel powerless to help. However, there are some ways you can make their recovery go more smoothly.

Identifying Symptoms of Trauma

Your loved one might be dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event you don’t even know about. Have you noticed any major changes in appetite or observed severe mood swings? These are some other common signs that someone is struggling with unresolved trauma:

  • Acting jumpy or being easily startled
  • Angry outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Depression
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea
  • Increased substance use or abuse
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Sweating

How to Help Someone Who is Traumatized

Talking to your friend or relative about what’s causing him or her distress is the most obvious way to help, but how you handle the conversation is important. Be sure to listen carefully. Don’t try to “fix” the issue. Instead, focus on the feelings being expressed.

Encourage proper self-care. Your loved one’s body needs good nutrition, plenty of sleep and regular exercise. Caution against self-medicating with drugs or alcohol as those can worsen symptoms of mental health issues. Working towards physical health can make it easier for the mind to heal as well.

Participate in enjoyable activities with your friend or relative.  Offer help with responsibilities where practical or appropriate.

Be patient. You shouldn’t force someone to confront trauma before he or she is ready. Trauma affects people in different ways, and some may take longer than others to heal. However, if your loved one doesn’t seem to be improving, you should encourage him or her to seek professional help.

How to Overcome Trauma and Addiction

If your relative or friend has turned to drugs or alcohol to deal with trauma, the relief provided is fleeting. Many of the symptoms of trauma are actually worsened by substance abuse—particularly when an individual experiences the subsequent withdrawals. When issues with addiction and trauma are both present, it increases the rate of addiction relapse if both problems aren’t addressed simultaneously.

Trauma Informed Addiction Treatment in Treasure Island, Florida

Are you witnessing a loved one falling into addiction as he or she struggles to cope with trauma? You may need to stage an intervention. If you have questions about treatment for trauma and addiction recovery, the compassionate, knowledgeable staff at Footprints Beachside Recovery can help.

Our recovery approach is tailor-made for each client. We start with the familiar 12-step program and include other therapies that have been shown to help people deal with difficult emotions. Families also begin healing from addiction at Footprints. Talk to one of our specialists today to find out more about trauma informed addiction treatment for your loved one.

Call Footprints Beachside Recovery at 877-954-3908 today.