Some people want to know what they can do after successfully treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Just because you successfully completed treatment for PTSD does not mean that your job is over.
Steps to prevent further symptoms after PTSD treatment
If you do not continue to engage in the healthy behaviors and coping skills learned during treatment, PTSD symptoms may recur. Therefore, it is very important to take steps to ensure that the skills you have learned during treatment stay fresh in your mind. Here are some ways to achieve this.
Focus on your goals
Take some time to think about your goals, and if you have not done so, please clarify what your goals are. Imagine yourself taking action towards your goal. In addition, identify behaviors that may be inconsistent with achieving goals.
As important as understanding how to achieve the goal, so is understanding behaviors that are inconsistent with the goal (for example, avoidance).
View your resources
Read any materials you get during PTSD treatment. Even if you feel that you are very familiar with all of this, there is no harm in reviewing it again. This will keep it fresh in your mind, and you may find things you missed before. The more familiar you are with the material, the easier it will be to master certain skills if needed.
Purchase a self-help book on PTSD and read it through from time to time. It can introduce you to skills that you have never thought of before, and it can also keep in mind the materials you have learned in treatment.
Practice coping strategies
If you learned a specific coping strategy during PTSD treatment, choose an exercise every week, whether you need to use it or not. Practice it when you are not stressed, but also practice it when you feel a little overwhelmed or anxious. The more you practice these skills, the better your ability to use them in times of crisis.
Determine the source of support. Support can be great when you are trying to resolve PTSD symptoms; however, it can also be helpful after you successfully complete PTSD treatment. Make sure they know the signs that your PTSD symptoms may return. They may be able to help you understand “mistakes” or early warning signs. The sooner you resolve these symptoms, the easier it will be to overcome them.
Reducing PTSD symptoms is only part of the puzzle. It is also important to start building the life you want after PTSD treatment. Set goals, propose actions or steps that align with those goals every week, and build the life you want.
Pursue more treatment
You may even consider continuing treatment. Although your PTSD symptoms have been reduced, this does not mean that there will be no more gains from meeting with the therapist. The therapist can help you determine your goals and how to achieve them. The therapist can also be an additional source of support and can provide help when needed.
PTSD Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions the next time you see a doctor.
It may take some work to keep recovering from PTSD. However, while the steps listed above may help control your PTSD symptoms, they may also help other aspects of your life. The goal is not only to eliminate the symptoms of PTSD, but also to build a meaningful and fulfilling life for yourself.