When you have been diagnosed with PTSD it is imperative that you learn to begin coping with PTSD symptoms.  Many times these actions involve dramatically changing the way you live.  We have mentioned may different strategies to deal with the emotional aftermath of traumatic events.  Here, we offer some lifestyle changes to begin coping with PTSD symptoms.  When you alter your lifestyle, you have a greater chance of reducing PTSD symptom and improving your life.  Below are lifestyle improvements you should consider making to improve coping with PTSD symptoms:

Coping With PTSD symptoms: Drugs and Alcohol

Many people who have experienced trauma start self medicating with drugs and alcohol so they can cope.  Although this is a distraction when you have PTSD, it will just make your problems bigger in the long run.  It will make your PTSD symptoms worse and make it much harder to recover.  If you are abusing drugs or alcohol to cope with your PTSD, this is a sign that you need professional help to cope with both the PTSD and the substance abuse.

Coping with PTSD Symptoms: Don’t Isolate

When you are exposed to other people who have also experienced trauma it will both help yourself and the trauma survivors.  This is because you have gone through similar experiences and have a greater understanding and can support each other.  In your local area there might be a group of trauma survivors who meets regularly.  When you interact with people who went through the traumatic experiences you are likely to feel and know that you aren’t alone.  It will may also help you learn to trust other people again.

The most difficult step to joining a survivors meeting is the first one.  There is a fear where you are of what goes on in the meetings and believe no one can relate to you.  When a person has PTSD it is very hard for them to trust and open up with new people.  But you need to get over the initial apprehension and go to a few meetings.  Also, remember that all meetings are not the same.  If one meeting isn’t right for you, try another.  Knowing that you aren’t alone with your problems will help.  Keep on going to meetings and you will see positive changes in yourself as well as your new friends who attend the meetings.

Coping with PTSD Symptoms: Change Your Circumstances

People who have PTSD always feel like their world is extremely dangerous and are in constant danger of getting harmed.  If you live in a part of town which has lots of crime it may reinforce this belief and make over coming PTSD even more difficult.  If it’s financially possible then you should move into a safer place to live.  If this is not feasible, consider getting a roommate, even on a temporary basis, or moving in with family.  After these changes you may find it easier to work on your PTSD symptoms and a reduction in your fear.

Coping with PTSD Symptoms: Exercise 

Physical exercise is a very healthy way to reduce physical and emotional tension and improve your sleep.  Before beginning to exercise you must talk to your doctor first to make sure it is safe.  If and when your physician gives the thumbs up, start exercising slowly to relieve your PTSD.  As time goes by you can start exercising more.  Exercising is great because it can help you forget about your problems for a while and at the same time make you feel better about yourself on the inside and out.  It is a way of taking control of your life once again.  Weight lifting, jogging, running, walking and other exercises can do wonders in relieving physical and emotional tension.

Coping with PTSD Symptoms: Volunteer

People feel happy when they know that they are helping others.  When you have PTSD may first feel like you have nothing to offer. But this isn’t true, just get out there and start volunteering.  There are many programs available which need your help which include building houses, sports, reading, health services and youth programs.  Giving back may help distract you from your PTSD symptoms, improve your sense of belonging and foster a sense of safety.

Coping with PTSD Symptoms: Seek Treatment

Because our treatment center relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from PTSD, depression and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of PTSD, depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for PTSD depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.