Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, affects millions of people every year. 


Because of the commonality, it is likely that you will meet someone or even know someone who currently suffers from PTSD. 


If you’re looking for ways to be the best ally and support them, we’ve got a few tips to know right here. 


1. Learn About PTSD

The first step to supporting a loved one with PTSD is to take the time to learn and understand it. 


Few things will make your loved one feel supported, like someone they care about taking the time to actually learn about their disorder. 


Oftentimes, people think that grand gestures are necessary to show someone they care, but when it comes to mental illness, the small action of educating yourself can make a world of difference. 


2. Understand That PTSD Affects People Differently 

Once you have a strong foundation, as in a strong understanding of PTSD at large, it’s a good time to check in on how PTSD can affect people differently. 


What the symptoms look like in your loved one may look different for another person. This is especially crucial when it comes to the two extremes of coping. 


While some people suffering from PTSD can lash out when triggered, others suffer silently. That doesn’t mean either is right or wrong, it just means that there are different ways of experiencing PTSD. 


If you understand how the disorder can look different or affect people differently, you’re more receptive to understanding your loved one’s own approach. 


3. Be Patient and Understanding 

The last thing you want to do when dealing with someone who is working through PTSD is make them feel pressured or unusual. 


In fact, any mental disorder in a loved one should be handled with caution and care. 


Don’t downplay their emotions or coping mechanisms. All this does is hurt your loved one and make them feel guilty about something that they cannot change. 


4. Find Unique Ways to Show Your Support

Armed with your knowledge and an understanding of PTSD, especially how it affects your loved one, you can demonstrate your full support. 


Living with a serious mental health problem can be scary and draining. Having a support network helps to make sure that the burden is not any one person’s responsibility to carry. 


There are a number of ways to show your support for a loved one working through PTSD. 


This list is a great jumping-off place for finding ways to support. You might also visit Psych Central’s guide for more ways to help. 


5. Encourage Them to Get Help

If your loved one is living with undiagnosed mental illnesses, especially PTSD, you can support them by encouraging them to get help. 


A proper diagnosis is the first step to getting them the help they need. 


Whether it be medication, talk therapy, or another approach, a licensed professional can help to improve their symptoms so that they can find the relief they need. 


Some people find it scary to go to a therapy appointment alone. You might also offer your support in those situations. 


Let your loved one know that you would love to attend the appointment with them if they would like, or just sit in the lobby and be their support before and after the appointment. 


6. Don’t Criticize Them or Try to “Fix” Them 

You’re likely to make your loved one feel ostracized if you criticize them in any way about their PTSD. 


That can be invalidating their experience by saying they should “get over it” or downplaying their reactions to triggers. 


Just as you experience problems in your mental, emotional, or physical health, your loved one is valid in feeling and living with their mental illness. 


If a loved one chooses to share their diagnosis with you, remember that it is not an invitation to try and fix them. 


This also goes for the ways they choose to cope and not judge them for it. There are a number of approaches for managing PTSD symptoms. 


For example, cannabis. If you’re curious about how tools like cannabis can help, visit Veriheal


7. Avoid Triggering Them

This tip is not going to be universal. Instead, it’s something that may help certain dynamics in some situations. 


PTSD can develop from a wide variety of traumatic events. Because of this, it may be possible only sometimes to avoid triggering your loved one. 


Whether that be avoiding certain places, it can also be more difficult not having a specific trigger to avoid but listening to your loved one when they are in distress. 


PTSD can impact people differently. How a person reacts and lives with their diagnosis will look different than the next. 


To help care for your loved one and make sure they have the tools they need to live with their disorder, you can follow these tips to make sure you are starting on the right foot.