Vets With PTSD Can Take Charge of Their Recovery
Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder deserve to get all the help they need, both from the government that sent them to war and from the society that they protected through their sacrifices. Fortunately, the availability and effectiveness of PTSD treatment for vets is improving along with the public’s understanding and acceptance of those with the disorder. However, the attitudes and actions of PTSD sufferers themselves can often make a big difference in their recovery.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to conditions and experiences during military service that have resulted in PTSD, you or the veteran affected should without question seek professional help. In the course of treatment, however, even a counselor or psychologist will tell recommend that a PTSD sufferer take steps to improve his or her own mental health. These “self-help” steps are probably as important to a thorough recovery as counseling itself. Actively participating in overcoming PTSD through everyday actions will result in a far better outcome than just attending periodic therapy sessions.
Here are some of the things that veterans with PTSD can do for themselves that will almost certainly make their lives and their family’s lives better, one day at a time:
- Maintain contact with friends and relatives – Many PTSD sufferers feel like isolating themselves. While this is an understandable impulse, isolation almost always makes matters worse. Social support is important for everyone’s mental well-being, and that’s especially true for anyone struggling with PTSD.
- Support your fellow vets, and let them support you – No one can understand what you’ve gone through the way other former soldiers can. Seek out their company and conversation in PTSD support groups, in online chat rooms for vets and in veterans’ organizations.
- Lean on your faith – Spirituality helps people through difficult times. If your military experience has caused you to question some of your beliefs, don’t be shy about taking those concerns to your pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual or religious leader. With few exceptions, those serving in the clergy will be more than happy to help you grapple with important questions of faith.
- Return to work or school – If you’re having difficulty finding a job, make use of veterans’ employment services offered by government and private organizations. Feeling competent and productive through work is beneficial to your mental state. If you’d like to further or complete your higher education or technical training, take advantage of the GI Bill benefits that you’ve earned by serving your country.
- Do volunteer work – Volunteer positions offer a way to stay connected and be useful. Helping others will lift your mood and take your attention away from your own difficulties for a while.
- Get regular exercise – Keep up your regular exercise routine, if you have one. Also consider adding activities that you may not have tried before – ones that combine exercise and physical discipline with mental discipline, relaxation or meditation. Think t’ai chi, yoga and similar practices.
- Get a pet – Caring for a dog or cat, and getting companionship and unconditional love in return, can be very beneficial for many people facing a major life challenge such as PTSD.
Again, the above recommendations are things to do in addition to participating in professional counseling or therapy. One of the top treatment options for PTSD sufferers is The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, Washington. Founded by psychologist and author Dr. Gregory Jantz, The Center is dedicated to helping people overcome challenges such as PTSD using a “whole-person” approach that compassionately addresses each client’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. The Center is truly “A Place of Hope” for PTSD sufferers. Call today for a free consultation at 1-888-771-5166.