Oct 8, 2019
Find tools that can help you and your family members
If you’re experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), remember that you’re not alone. According to the National Center for PTSD, 8 million people have PTSD in the U.S. Anyone can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as combat or a bad accident. Seeking professional treatment is the best thing you can do if you think you have PTSD. To learn more about this mental health condition, available treatments, and ways to manage symptoms, VA offers the PTSD Coach mobile app.
Learning about PTSD can help you understand your feelings and how to effectively deal with them. With the PTSD Coach app, you can access:
- Information on PTSD
- A PTSD self-assessment
- Support or professional care
- Tools to help you manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD
The app’s features can help you practice relaxation and anger management skills, as well as other self-help strategies.
“This application has significantly helped me in the heat of these moments. It has helped my ability to deal with the panic attacks and steer me from feeling completely lost,” shared one Veteran. “If you don’t know what to do, you don’t have anywhere to go, try this app. It’s seriously helping me.”
Find the right treatment for you
Effective treatment for PTSD is available. Getting better means different things for different people. Since no one treatment is right for everyone, you should discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Together you can decide what works best for you based on the benefits, risks, and side effects of each treatment. If you are diagnosed with PTSD, your health care team may recommend:
- Therapy. Effective trauma-focused talk therapies, such as Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you to cope with the trauma and reduce your symptoms.
- Medication. The therapies listed above are more effective for treating PTSD than medications. However, four antidepressant medications are effective for treating PTSD: Sertraline (Zoloft) Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Venlafaxine (Effexor). Depending on your treatment needs your healthcare provider may recommend one of these medications, often in combination with therapy.
Learn more about these evidence-based PTSD treatments within the PTSD Coach app or by checking out the online resources below.
If you are a Veteran with PTSD, upgrading your My HealtheVet account can help you better manage your treatment. Log into a Premium account to access tools such as Secure Messaging (sign in required) to communicate with members of your health care team.
PTSD Coach (VA Mobile)
PTSD Treatment: Know Your Options (YouTube)
Getting Treatment for PTSD (Veterans Health Library)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (National Center for PTSD)
What is PTSD?
It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.
- PTSD Basics
If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.
More PTSD Topics
Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. It is natural to want to avoid thinking about or feeling emotions about a stressful event. But when avoidance is extreme, or when it’s the main way you cope, it can interfere with your emotional recovery and healing.
- Trauma Reminders: Anniversaries
On the anniversary of a traumatic event, some survivors have an increase in distress. These “anniversary reactions” can range from feeling mildly upset for a day or two to a more extreme reaction with more severe mental health or medical symptoms.
- Trauma Reminders: Triggers
People respond to traumatic events in a number of ways, such as feelings of concern, anger, fear, or helplessness. Research shows that people who have been through trauma, loss, or hardship in the past may be even more likely than others to be affected by new, potentially traumatic events.
- Aging Veterans and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms
For many Veterans, memories of their wartime experiences can still be upsetting long after they served in combat. Even if they served many years ago, military experience can still affect the lives of Veterans today.
- Very Young Trauma Survivors
Trauma and abuse can have grave impact on the very young. The attachment or bond between a child and parent matters as a young child grows. This bond can make a difference in how a child responds to trauma.
- PTSD in Children and Teens
Trauma affects school-aged children and teenagers differently than adults. If diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms in children and teens can also look different. For many children, PTSD symptoms go away on their own after a few months. Yet some children show symptoms for years if they do not get treatment. There are many treatment options available including talk and play therapy.
- History of PTSD in Veterans: Civil War to DSM-5
PTSD became a diagnosis with influence from a number of social movements, such as Veteran, feminist, and Holocaust survivor advocacy groups. Research about Veterans returning from combat was a critical piece to the creation of the diagnosis. So, the history of what is now known as PTSD often references combat history.
A complete guide to PTSD basics
What is PTSD
PTSD Warning Signs
A Veteran Copes with PTSD: Brandon’s Story