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When to Worry: Recognizing Signs of Trauma in Your Loved Ones


Over the past several years, there have been numerous traumatic events across the world, from incidents of mass violence to devastating natural disasters, hundreds of thousands of us have experienced or witnessed a disastrous or life-threatening event within our lifetimes. In addition to tragedies such as these, anyone who has suffered a shocking or dangerous incident (such as a car accident or a robbery) is at risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a severe mental disorder that requires medical treatment. PTSD can have devastating effects on every aspect of a person’s life, from their marriage and family to their friendships and careers. If you are concerned that a loved one may have PTSD, here are some signs to look for.

Reliving the Trauma

Someone with PTSD will have repeated, involuntary re-experience of the event. They may experience bad dreams or flashbacks. They’re also vulnerable to certain triggers that remind them of what happened, such as sounds or smells.

Angry Outbursts

Someone silently suffering from trauma may be prone to anger, agitation or sadness. Feeling irritable, the sufferer may be inclined to outbursts of rage that they can not control. If you have noticed your loved one frequently losing control and lashing out in anger, this is a sign that they are suffering emotionally and require treatment.


People who have PTSD will avoid people and situations that are reminders of the case. As a victim continues to isolate themselves how their friends and family react to their withdrawal will likely further separate them, causing additional emotional distress.

Substance Abuse

It is not uncommon with PTSD to self-medicate. Seeking an escape from high levels of stress and painful emotions, they may turn to drugs and alcohol. The painful trademark of substance abuse is the growing need for more of the drug to produce the same high. If left untreated, as substance abuse grows, the abuse will turn to addiction and eventually dependence. This can have devastating effects on every facet of a person’s life, including their relationships.

If you are concerned that a loved one is experiencing symptoms of trauma, the most important thing you can do is encourage them to seek professional diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. You can help by contacting psychotherapists who specialised in working with PTSD and vetting them on your partner’s behalf if they feel comfortable with this and volunteer to take them to an appointment. Assure them of your love and support throughout the process.

For additional guidance and recommendations, please contact me.

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