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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

Most people experience some stress reactions following a trauma, such as nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling detached. How survivors of traumatic events respond to these normal reactions may make the difference between long-lasting symptoms and short-lived problems. Find out what to expect after a trauma and about self-help tools that can help you manage stress reactions.

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.

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.

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.

Other Self-Help Strategies

Tools to Help Manage Symptoms

  • 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.

You May Also Be Interested In

PTSD Coach

Learn about and manage PTSD symptoms.

Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment (PDF)

A complete guide to PTSD basics.

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