Self-Help and Coping - PTSD: National Center for PTSD
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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Self-Help and Coping

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Self-Help and Coping

It is common to experience some level of stress reactions after a trauma. Many people feel detached or down, have sleep problems like nightmares, or have flashbacks where they feel the event is happening again. How people respond to these normal reactions may make the difference between long-lasting symptoms and short-lived problems.

In this section learn about coping strategies and self-help tools that can help you manage stress reactions. This material also benefits anyone who wants to manage stress after therapy or when PTSD symptoms are triggered.

If you have PTSD, or have symptoms that last longer than a few months after the traumatic event is over, your best chance of getting better is by working with a mental health or medical provider. Good treatments are available that have been shown to help all kinds of people. If you continue to experience distress, see a mental health or medical provider. Your primary care provider is a good place to start. Or, talking to your primary care provider is a good place to start.

When those who have been through trauma take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. For people who have completed therapy for PTSD, practicing coping skills helps manage symptoms that can arise due to triggers or new stress. Learn about healthy coping strategies that you can use after a trauma or for continued self-care.

Learn about Coping

  • Coping with Traumatic Stress Reactions
    When trauma survivors take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. Learn about healthy coping strategies that you can use after a trauma.
  • Negative Coping and PTSD
    If you have the symptoms of PTSD, you may try to deal with problems in ways that cause more harm than good. This is called negative coping. Negative coping means you use quick fixes that may make a situation worse in the long run.
  • Coping with Current Events in Afghanistan
    Veterans who served in Afghanistan, or other conflicts, and are experiencing strong emotions related to the U.S withdrawal from the country may benefit from these tips on how to cope and manage distress.

Other Self-Help Strategies

Tools to Help Manage Symptoms

  • Coping with Unwanted Thoughts: RESET for Active Duty Soldiers
    RESET is a one-hour video training to teach active duty soldiers strategies to manage unwanted or intrusive thoughts after a trauma.
  • PTSD Coach: Mobile App
    This mobile app has self-assessments, symptom-tracking, and coping skills to help you address and monitor stress. Available for iOS and Android.
  • PTSD Coach Online
    A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.
  • Mindfulness Coach: Mobile App
    This app includes mindfulness exercises to practice on your own or with guidance and strategies to help overcome challenges to mindfulness practice. Includes a log and reminders to support your mindfulness practice. Available for iOS.

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Mobile Apps

Apps for self-help, education, and support after trauma.

Get help for PTSD

If you need help right away:

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PTSD Information Voice Mail:
(802) 296-6300
ncptsd@va.gov
Also see: VA Mental Health

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