Anxiety Home > How to Cope With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Learning how to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is critical to the well-being of those who have this condition. Counseling, relaxation methods, and even medications in some cases can help people better cope and return to a normal way of life. A doctor or counselor will understand what you are going through, and can give you ideas on how to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

How to Cope With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: An Overview

Because the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) seldom disappear completely, it is usually a continuing challenge for survivors of trauma to cope with PTSD symptoms and the problems they cause. Survivors often learn through treatment how to cope more effectively.
 
Recovery from PTSD is an ongoing, daily, gradual process. It doesn't happen through sudden insight or a "cure." Healing doesn't mean that a survivor will forget war experiences or have no emotional pain when remembering them. Some level of continuing reaction to memories is normal, and reflects a normal body and mind. Recovery may lead to fewer reactions and reactions that are less intense. It may also lead to a greater ability to manage trauma-related emotions and to greater confidence in one's ability to cope.
 
When a trauma survivor takes direct action to cope with problems, he or she often gains a sense of personal power and control. Active coping means recognizing and accepting the impact of traumatic experiences and then taking concrete action to improve things.
 

Positive Coping Actions for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Positive coping actions are those that help to reduce anxiety and lessen other distressing reactions. Positive coping actions also improve the situation in a way that does not harm the survivor further and in a way that lasts into the future. Positive coping methods can include:
 
  • Learning about trauma and PTSD
  • Talking to a support person
  • Talking to your doctor
  • Practicing relaxation methods
  • Increasing positive distracting activities
  • Calling a counselor
  • Taking prescribed medications.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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