Many people have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in relation to soldiers in combat. But what many people don’t know is that PTSD can occur in non-combat situations, too, like following a traumatic experience or event at work. If you have a loved one suffering from work-related PTSD, it’s important that you recognize the condition and learn how to help someone with PTSD cope with the condition.
Recognizing Work Related PTSD
People who have PTSD may lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed and may seem emotionally detached, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Work-related PTSD sufferers might:
- suffer nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event;
- complain of depression;
- feel overwhelming anxiety;
- be jumpy or scare easily; or
- have a substance abuse problem.
According to Dr. Kathleen Brady, MD, PhD of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, women may be more likely to exhibit avoidance and numbness associated with PTSD. Men, meanwhile, may be more likely to suffer from irritability and impulsiveness. Men may also be more likely to have substance abuse disorders, while women may be more likely to have mood and anxiety disorders.
Recognizing these signs is an important first step to helping your loved one cope with the symptoms and getting him or her professional help.
Tips to Help Someone with PTSD
Naturally, you want to help your loved one cope with or heal from this trauma. The following are some tips that may help your loved one cope with the condition:
- learn about PTSD - learn as much as you can about PTSD from reliable sources, such as the doctor treating your loved one;
- attend doctor appointments - offer to go to medical appointments with your loved one;
- plan enjoyable outings with your loved one - plan fun family activities or date nights;
- be a good listener - listen without pushing for revelations or solutions. Avoid constant harping on how you are ready to listen. If your loved one needs to stop, don’t push him or her to keep going;
- make an appointment to talk with your loved one - arrange a time and place to talk about the accident or its effects. Choose a comfortable setting that doesn’t have a lot of distractions. But be available for any spur of the moment talks your loved one requests;
- bring in a professional: help your loved one obtain effective talk therapy or other PTSD treatment with a therapist who specializes in PTSD. A doctor should be able to recommend a therapist;
- take suicide threats seriously - some patients who suffer PTSD may suffer from suicidal thoughts. If your loved one talks about it or makes threats, get professional help right away. In cases of immediate danger, call 911 and explain the circumstances; and
- get rid of dangerous items - remove guns and other weapons from the house. Also try to keep your home free of substances like pills and alcohol that are easy to abuse and that alter the decision-making process.
Get Help for the Rest of the Family
Don’t forget about the rest of the family. Seeing a loved one suffer from PTSD can be difficult for children, parents, and others close to him or her. Some benefit from counseling with a professional therapist to talk about PTSD and how it’s affecting their own life. Don’t neglect yourself either. If you need a break, ask someone else to help you out. If you want to speak to a therapist about your own feelings, make time to do so.
If your loved one’s PTSD is work-related, he or she may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. We know its a first hard step but getting help from an attorney in Des Moines who is familiar with such cases can help you recover fair benefits. Receiving fair workers’ comp can help take some of the stress out of the situation by addressing the financial burden if your loved one is unable to work.
If you’re in Des Moines, call Walker, Billingsley & Bair at 888-435-9886 to set up a consultation to learn more about your recourse to recover workers’ compensation benefits, or contact us online.