Living with PTSD

Military veterans often face an additional challenge of making the transition from military to civilian life. While this transition is smooth for most, it can be difficult, particularly when a person is experiencing the symptoms of PTSD as well.[1]

Support groups involve therapy, led by a mental health professional, in groups of four to 12 people with similar issues. Talking to others who have also experienced trauma can help in the road to recovery. Sharing your thoughts can help you to increase your confidence and find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.[2]

Because PTSD can affect all members in a family, sometimes family therapy can help.[2]

Important steps that can help in the recovery process include:[2,3]

  • Connecting with friends and family. Social support from those around you can speed the recovery process.
  • Finding ways to relax. Everyone has their own way to relax, from listening to music or taking a walk, to measures such as yoga or massage therapy.
  • Exercise. Exercise improves mood and sleep patterns, and can help to ease the symptoms of anxiety. Generally, at least 30 minutes of exercise, three to five days a week, is recommended.
  • Ensuring that you get enough sleep. Getting a good night's sleep helps to reduce stressRelating to injury or concern. levels and helps people to cope with their problems more easily.
  • Ensuring that you feel safe. Sometimes, changing your living circumstances can be an important part of recovery from PTSD. For example, if a person has been assaulted by their neighbour, moving house may help them to feel safe again.
References: 
  1. Pranger T, Murphy K and Thompson JM. Shaken world: Coping with transition to civilian life. Canadian Family Physician 2009; 55: 159-61.
  2. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/ptsd Last accessed May 4, 2010.
  3. Semple D and Smyth R. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry 2009; 2nd Edition.