Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

If you or a family member or friend is struggling, there is help. NAMI is there to provide you with support for you and your family and information about community resources.

Find out if there is a NAMI program or support group at your local NAMI. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org if you have any questions about PTSD or finding support and resources.

Helping Yourself

Self-care is a must, as it provides a sense of grounding and relief from symptoms. Here are some tips:

  • Mindfulness. Techniques that use the senses to guide yourself back to the present are useful you are in the throes of a flashback, feeling “out-of-body”, or recalling memories that are too painful to cope with. These can include things like touching a piece of fabric, sniffing something with a strong scent, or focusing on breathing slowly and deeply.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These substances can disturb emotional balance and interact with medications.
  • Connect with others. Find emotional support from others living with PTSD. It’s helpful to share your thoughts, fears and questions with other people who have the same illness. Use online message boards or in-person groups.

If you live with a mental health condition, learn more about managing your mental health and finding the support you need.

Helping a Family Member or Friend

As with any mental illness, the caring support of loved ones cannot be underestimated. Specifically for individuals with a traumatic past, encouragement and support of friends and family is very important. NAMI offers several resources, including the Peer-to-Peer education program and NAMI Connection support groups. Help Guide has a number of excellent tips for helping your loved one and yourself cope with the symptoms of PTSD.