How to Approach Your Loved One After Trauma

How to Approach Your Loved One After Trauma

Supporting a Loved One After Trauma

When a friend, child, parent or other close loved one experiences trauma, you may not know what to say, how to act or how to offer help and support. However using the lack of this information as an excuse to overlook the problem will not benefit you or your loved one. Ignoring trauma and its effects has lasting effects in both children and adults. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, teens and young adults who experience trauma, “may engage in risky behaviors such as using alcohol or drugs” (“Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event”) immediately after the event or as a long-term reaction, while The Wall Street Journal explains that “job-related stress and emotional trauma…have been linked to substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide” (“Seeking Help for Police After Trauma,” January 2014). Experiencing trauma is not a one-time event. It has far-reaching consequences that can severely impact a person’s health, happiness and life. Loved ones will also experience these effects, and they are in a unique position to help, if they know the right actions to take.

Get Professional Help to Approach a Loved One After Trauma

Healing after trauma takes time, but if reactions to trauma do not improve, individuals may be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  PTSD symptoms continue for more than a month after the traumatic event and interrupt normal life. Recommended treatment involves therapy, and if individuals are struggling with co-occurring addiction or mental health concerns, inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient treatment may offer the most support for long-term health. However individuals do not always seek treatment for themselves. Loved ones can take action by talking to mental health professionals, calling helplines and seeking help for themselves.

Be a Good Role Model to Help a Loved One After Trauma

If you do not know how to approach a loved one, or if efforts to mediate have failed, being a good role model can be enough. Learn about and do not engage in actions that enable unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse. Be active and healthy, employ positive coping methods and attend therapy sessions. Show your loved one that asking for help is a good thing and that everyone can use support and professional guidance in life. Even if he does not seem to listen to your concerns, your loved one may see the effects of positive habits and mental health on your life and see you as a resource for support when he is finally ready to get help.

Help Approaching a Loved One

If you are ready to end the effects of trauma on yours and a loved one’s life, call our toll-free helpline. Our admissions coordinators will help you assess the situation and choose the best course of action. If your loved one is ready to get help, we can connect you to resources for treatment. If he has not acknowledged the effects of trauma on his life, we can help you arrange mediation or intervention. Do not hesitate to call now. The longer you allow trauma to remain untreated, the greater the effects will be on all lives involved.