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Deciding to Get Treatment for PTSD - Topic Overview

There are many reasons why you may not want to get treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • You may not trust therapists or psychologists.
  • You may worry about money. Even if you have insurance, it doesn't always cover mental health care.
  • You may feel that asking for treatment is a sign of weakness.
  • You may think you will get better if enough time passes.
  • You may worry that if people find out it could hurt your career.

But you need to get treatment. Treatment can work, and early treatment may help reduce long-term symptoms.1

Here are some reasons people don't seek treatment and what you can do about them.

"It's hard to schedule and find time for an appointment." "I can't get there."

  • Look at your schedule and find when it would be easiest for you to see a doctor. Request this time when you call. You may have to wait a few days, but if that's the only time you can do it, it's worth the wait.
  • When you call for an appointment, explain your situation. Most doctors will try to find a time that works for both of you.
  • Ask a friend to help you get there, or check local bus schedules.
  • If you are a veteran, VA clinics and hospitals may offer after-hours or weekend hours.

"See a shrink? I'm not crazy." "People will think I'm weak." "What will my family and friends think?"

  • You are looking for help so you will feel better. It takes strength and courage to seek help from others.
  • Mental health problems are real and can affect your physical health. They are often caused by chemicals in the brain or by heredity—they are not character flaws.
  • You can get better with the right kind of treatment. Treatment includes medicine, counseling, self-care, or a combination of these. The kind of treatment you have will depend on how severe your symptoms are.

"Someone might get into my medical records and see this."

  • Doctors, counselors, hospitals, and clinics take privacy seriously. They won't share your records with anyone not involved in your treatment. If you have questions about your privacy, ask the doctor about it when calling for an appointment.
  • If you are in the military, ask about the privacy policy.

"I'm afraid of someone seeing that I'm not in control of myself."

  • Strong emotion is common, even years after the event that causes PTSD. You still may get angry easily or feel like crying. It's not your fault that you feel the way you do. Strong emotions are a symptom of PTSD. Treatment can help you cope.

"I've tried to talk to people. They just don't get it and don't care."

  • It may be hard for some people to understand or relate to your experiences. But other people who have experienced the same type of events can understand. Consider finding a group of people who have experiences similar to yours.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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