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Deciding to Get Treatment for PTSD - Topic Overview

"It happened a long time ago. How can anything help me?"

  • You can't change the past, but you can learn to see your past in a different way. This can help with symptoms.

"I can't afford it."

  • Many towns and cities have resources that may be able to help you. Call your local social services department or welfare office to find out.
  • If you have insurance, check your policy. Mental health benefits often are covered through a separate company.
  • Check to see if your state has a mental health parity law. Your employer may be required to provide mental health insurance.
  • Look into the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You may be able to use it to take time off for doctor visits.
  • Ask your doctor for help. He or she may be able to find free or low-cost medicine or counseling.
  • Check Medicaid if you have a low income, or Medicare if you are 65 or older. These programs may be able to help you.
  • If you are a veteran, Vet Centers throughout the country offer treatment for combat trauma and PTSD.

"It might hurt my career."

  • You may think that it will hurt your career if people at your workplace know you have PTSD. But PTSD may make it hard for you to perform your job well. Treatment can help you perform better.

"Mental health care doesn't work." "I've had counseling before and don't like it."

  • Learn about treatment for PTSD and find a counselor that has experience with trauma and PTSD. You'll find that counselors with experience will understand the bad experiences you may have had.
  • Mental health care, including treatment for PTSD, does work.

"I went to Iraq, but never saw combat. How could I have PTSD?"

  • Even if you didn't see combat, you may have seen a traumatic event. For example, going through a mortar attack, seeing an improvised explosive device (IED) go off in a crowded street, seeing badly injured people in a hospital, or just being scared because you were in Iraq all could result in PTSD.

"It's normal to think about my combat experience until I get used to life in the U.S. again."

  • It is normal to think about your experience for a while after the event. But if you're still thinking about it several months after the event, or if it's disturbing your life, you may want to seek help.

For more information, see the topic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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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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