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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Recovery

Recovery from PTSD does not mean forgetting the past trauma. It does mean that you learn how to not have the bad physical and emotional reactions in response to memories so that you can fully live your life. Recovery is not a cure. It helps you believe that you can reach your goals and learn new things to help yourself. It helps you gain self-confidence and respect for yourself.

The 10 principles of recovery(What is a PDF document?) make you the most important part of your recovery. Your counselor, doctor, family, and medicines can help you, but you're the one who makes the decisions. In the recovery process, you learn to cope with your symptoms and challenges and to develop social support.

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One Man's Story:

"I'm a much more peaceful person now. I sleep so much better."—Ron

Read Ron's story.

Positive coping skills

Coping is about dealing with your symptoms. When you cope with your symptoms in a positive way, you often feel more in control. You accept what the traumatic event did and take steps to improve your life.

  • Learn about PTSD to better understand how and why it affects you.
  • Relieve stress to relax and feel less anxious.
  • Exercise and be active to reduce how tense you feel. People who are fit usually have less anxiety, depression, and stress than people who aren't active.9
  • Get enough sleep to help your mood and make you feel less stressed. Many people with PTSD have trouble sleeping because they feel nervous and anxious or can't stop thinking about the traumatic event.
  • Eat a balanced diet to help your body deal with tension and stress. Whole grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and protein are part of a balanced diet.
  • Find things to do to ease your memories and reactions. Consider channeling your emotions into activities or sports, painting or writing, or a rewarding job.
  • Identify your beliefs to keep you balanced. PTSD can cause a spiritual crisis. You may begin to question your own beliefs and values and ask yourself why war or disasters happen. If this happens to you, talk to a family member, friend, or spiritual advisor. Consider spiritual study, prayer, or meditation.

Negative coping skills

Negative coping skills are certain ways you may try to deal with your symptoms and problems that cause more harm than good. These are quick fixes that don't improve your situation in the long run. They include drinking too much, avoiding others, and lashing out.

Support groups and social support

There are times when you may need a shoulder to cry on or a ride to the doctor. You may want to learn more about PTSD or talk with others who have PTSD. You need people who understand what you are going through and will help you and care about you. This is your support network.

Support takes many forms. You can find it in seminars and groups led by professionals, in groups made up of others with PTSD, and in your relationships with family and friends.

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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