ptsd triggers in relationships

PTSD Triggers in Relationships

If you have PTSD, you’ve probably already discovered it can interfere with your quality of life, including your connections with loved ones. Issues with trust, intimacy, and other foundational aspects of healthy relationships can cause you to pull away from the people you care about, leaving you lacking the support you need to start overcoming your mental health challenges. In observation of PTSD Awareness Month, what do you need to know about managing this disorder and reclaiming your well-being?

PTSD Symptoms and Triggers

Four leading PTSD characteristics include:

  • Having recurring flashbacks or nightmares about the negative experience
  • Avoiding people, places, and situations that remind you of what you went through
  • Feeling irritable and on edge
  • Struggling with negativity, guilt, and a loss of enjoyment

PTSD symptoms can flare up at unexpected times and in various ways, making you lash out at loved ones, be unable to relax, and have trouble trusting people. These reactions can become problematic in your relationships. However, the people who love you can learn more about what triggers your PTSD, so they can help you heal.

PTSD triggers are different for everyone, and may include sights, sounds, and smells that somehow remind you of the traumatic event. One moment, you could be feeling perfectly normal, and then you hear a loud noise that takes you back in time and makes you feel like you’re reliving the terrifying moment all over again.  

Why Do PTSD Triggers Happen?

When you’re facing a perceived threat, your body automatically goes into fight-or-flight mode. Your heart rate speeds up, your muscles tense, and all your senses go on high alert. Your brain also puts some of its usual functions on hold while you deal with the danger – including your short-term memory. As a result, you have trouble processing trauma because your memories of the past still feel like they are in the present day. You could be nervous, frightened, and anxious, even when you’re safe at home.

It may seem like your PTSD symptoms come out of nowhere, but usually, they result from a trigger you haven’t identified yet. This unpredictability can affect the way you interact with others, even if you’re not always aware of it. For instance, if you are unwilling to explore or revisit your emotions and memories, there is no way for people in your life to understand what you’ve been through.

Men’s-Only PTSD and Substance Abuse Treatment

At The Last Resort, we understand men are uniquely vulnerable to trauma due to issues like adverse childhood experiences, illness and injury, military service, and ongoing abuse or neglect. That’s why we have created a single-gender program that allows our clients to recover in a compassionate environment.

Relying on drugs or alcohol to cope with your PTSD triggers and symptoms will eventually compound your problems and make your anxiety worse. But you don’t have to suffer alone. Help is available, including evidence-based therapies and 12-step integration. To learn more about our proven treatment modalities, reach out to our team today.