Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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

Find education programs and support groups 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 want help finding support and resources.

Helping Yourself

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

  • Practice mindfulness. Techniques that use the senses to guide yourself back to the present are useful when you’re experiencing a flashback, feeling “outside of your body,” or recalling memories that are so painful they cause physical distress. Mindfulness can include things like focusing on breathing slowly and deeply, touching a piece of fabric or sniffing something with a strong or soothing scent.
  • 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 condition or similar experiences. Use online message boards or in-person groups.
  • Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol. These substances can disturb emotional balance and interact with prescribed medications.

Learn more about managing your mental health and finding support while living with mental illness.

Helping a Family Member or Friend

As with any mental illness, encouragement and support of friends and family is very important. This is especially true for people who have experienced trauma. NAMI offers several resources, including the NAMI Peer-to-Peer educational program and NAMI Connection recovery support group, which are both led by and for people with mental health conditions.

To learn more about PTSD:

  • Take the PTSD e-learning module now available.
  • Read this PTSD Help Guide, which offers a number of excellent tips for helping your loved one and yourself cope with the symptoms of PTSD.
  • Look into NAMI Homefront, a program for family members of veterans and service members whose traumatic experiences are associated to military services. Learn more about veteran mental health.
  • Research mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a program that incorporates mindfulness to assist people with a range of conditions and life issues that were initially difficult to treat in a hospital setting.
     

Reviewed December 2017