Helping a friend cope with PTSD
Life is unpredictable. There are happy moments and there are sad moments. Sometimes, there are traumatic moments that get etched in an adolescent or teen’s mind. These experiences are indelible and oftentimes, teens relive those traumatic events by developing extreme anxiety, depression or even a panic attack. Such teens suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
PTSD can affect anyone. It happens when one experiences war, natural disasters, an accident, sexual assault or any other untoward incident. While a teen suffering from PTSD might be excellent at their work, another might be struggling and barely holding on.
At school, a teen struggling with PTSD may show various symptoms like absenteeism, poor equation with fellow students, panic attacks, fear and anxiety, memory deficits, concentration lapses, etc. As a friend, one needs to be empathetic towards teens with PTSD. It is important to learn as much as possible about the disorder and help the teen in their day-to-day life. Some of the ways through which an individual can extend their support are:
- Getting them to talk/write – Sometimes, talking or sharing can be therapeutic. Therefore, one must reach out to the teen struggling with PTSD and encourage them to vent their feelings. This might take some time thus, one must be patient. When a PTSD teen talks, they must not be interrupted or judged and one must listen to them carefully. If they are hesitant in talking, they should be encouraged to write emails or use social media to share their feelings.
- Helping them concentrate – If PTSD teens face a difficulty in concentrating, help them shift their seat to a quieter place. In addition, one can provide them with noise cancelling headphones so that they can listen to white noise or soothing music while they work. If they have to attend a lot of workshops, help them make notes or record the discussion so that they can listen to it afterwards.
- Dealing with memory deficits – If they suffer from memory issues, one can help them set up electronic reminders and calendar meetings. One can also help them develop a habit of creating a to-do list at the beginning of every day.
- Dealing with work-related stress – If they suffer from work-related stress, one can help them take short breaks, go for walks with them, and help them learn meditation and mindfulness techniques. They should be encouraged to have a life beyond school, socialize, invest time in self-care and do some sort of physical activity as these things help alleviate stress and enhance mood.
- Dealing with delayed submission of projects – Help a PTSD teen understand the importance of adhering to timelines. Help them complete the projects or work simultaneously with them.
- Dealing with fellow students – PTSD teens should be discouraged from entering heated discussions/exchanges with other teens. One can also talk to their friends and make them aware of a person’s PTSD so that everyone adopts an empathetic, but not sympathetic, approach.
Seeking PTSD treatment for teens
One can always help a friend suffering from PTSD by helping them deal with their symptoms. Though certain self-help tips and may help, at times, there might be instances when the teen struggles with acute symptoms and needs medical intervention. At that time, one should help them get connected to a professional resource.
If you know a teen suffering from PTSD or any other mental health issue, encourage them to get in touch with ADEONA Healthcare. We can provide the teen with the right resources to help them identify their symptoms and offer effective PTSD treatment programs. Call our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 or chat online with one of our trained professionals to know more about how ADEONA can help teens recover in a safe and secure environment.