Traumatic events—such as an accident, assault, military combat or natural disaster—can have lasting effects on a person’s mental health. While many people will have short term responses to life-threatening events, some will develop longer term symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Although it may take a while to feel benefits from therapy or medications, treatment can be effective, and most people do recover. Remind yourself that it takes time. Following your treatment plan and routinely communicating with your mental health professional will help move you forward.
This knowledge can help you understand what you're feeling, and then you can develop coping strategies to help you respond effectively.
Get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, exercise and take time to relax. Try to reduce or avoid caffeine and nicotine, which can worsen anxiety.
Turning to alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings isn't healthy, even though it may be a tempting way to cope. It can lead to more problems down the road, interfere with effective treatments and prevent real healing.
When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or jump into a hobby to re-focus.
Spend time with supportive and caring people — family, friends, faith leaders or others. You don't have to talk about what happened if you don't want to. Just sharing time with loved ones can offer healing and comfort.
Ask your mental health professional for help finding a support group, or contact veterans' organizations or your community's social services system. Or look for local support groups in an online directory.
Visit our Get Help page to learn about options for receiving immediate help.
Schedule an appointment to meet with a licensed counselor.