PTSD in Adults: What Family Members & Loved Ones Should Know

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that results from witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. It can happen to anyone, regardless of how strong or stable they appear to be, and can develop from all kinds of trauma. We often think of traumatic events as involving the threat of violence, but they don’t necessarily need to be physically violent or life-threatening. Sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse are all common causes of trauma, as are extraordinary events such as witnessing a catastrophic accident or natural disaster. Any event that causes significant traumatic stress could lead to PTSD, which if left untreated could manifest into other significant problems.

According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, approximately 15% – 43% of girls and 14% – 43% of boys experience at least one trauma before reaching adulthood. Of these, about 3% – 15% of girls and 1% – 6% of boys develop PTSD. Often, but not always, it’s the traumatic experiences of childhood that manifest as PTSD in young adults. About 7-8% of people will have PTSD at some point in their life, while about 8 million adults have PTSD in any given year.


PTSD Symptoms In Adults: What You Need To Know

People with PTSD have a difficult time confronting their trauma and coping with everyday life. Though they may feel as though they’re moving on from their trauma, the symptoms of PTSD persist. Sometimes, this may be attributed to unrelated issues such as rage or depression, though these issues can also be symptoms in themselves. If you notice the following symptoms in a loved one or family member, it could be a sign that they have PTSD and need professional help.

  • Dreams, Memories, or Flashbacks – People with PTSD often relive their trauma as though it’s happening for the first time. This may be accompanied by feelings of extreme fear, anxiety, or guilt, as well as physical signs such as shaking, chills, heart palpitations, or panic attacks.
  • Risky, Dangerous, or Impulsive Behavior – Many with PTSD feel a near-constant pressure or feeling of danger, which can result in significant behavior changes. Aggressive behavior, anger outbursts, or destructive behavior towards themselves or others is common.
  • Low Self Worth or Guilt – This includes having a sense of “survivors guilt,” feeling weak or guilty because of the trauma that was experienced, or blaming oneself in some way for their symptoms.
  • Feeling Isolated or Lonely – People with PTSD may take pains to avoid others out of fear, anxiety, or trying to avoid being judged. A lack of motivation or depression can also contribute to a disinterest in maintaining relationships.
  • Self Harm – This is often done as a coping mechanism to avoid thoughts and memories related to trauma.
  • Substance Use – As with many disorders, PTSD may lead people to substance use as a temporary way to escape their problems and feel better.


How To Help A Loved One

Support and attention from family members can make all the difference when it comes to getting help with PTSD. Because feelings of isolation, guilt, and being misunderstood or rejected are so prevalent to those with PTSD, the knowledge and feeling of having their loved ones’ genuine concern is extremely important. Comprehensive mental health treatment is also important for helping to address traumas, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and overcome their symptoms. Personalized and attentive care may also be necessary, as the nature of PTSD can be highly subjective, and addressing trauma often benefits from an individualized approach suited for their unique experiences.

At Jonas Hill Hospital, we offer help for Adults with PTSD. We offer supervised inpatient treatment in a state-of-the-art, barrier-free facility that’s optimized for interaction between staff and patients. If you or someone you know may be struggling with PTSD, please feel free to contact us here for more information and to discuss treatment today.


Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information.