PTSD Recovery: Living a normal life after being diagnosed

Man with PTSD

By: Alicia DiGiulio, M.A. IHFC Therapist

I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, can I live a normal life?

PTSD is a mental illness that affects approximately 7.8 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. PTSD recovery is definitely possible with the right treatment.  In fact, with the right treatment, approximately 80 percent of PTSD sufferers will recover.  The remaining 20 percent can still benefit from treatment by learning coping strategies that can improve their quality of life and make the symptoms more manageable. Because everyone is different, it can take time to find the right combination of therapy and medications.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

You might be wondering if normal life will be a part of PTSD recovery. Keep in mind that living what constitutes a “normal life” will vary from individual to individual.  These individual life experiences affect us and shape our lives in unique ways.  Although there are similarities in traumatic reactions, no two people have exactly the same experience or response, just as no two people will recover in the same way or on the same timeframe.

When one is in in the midst of PTSD recovery, it may start to feel as though it will never end. While it might take some time to find the right therapist and psychiatrist, and it can be difficult to open up to loved ones and let them help, it is important to be prepared for the likelihood that working through traumatic experiences will often feel unpleasant and uncomfortable. It usually requires remembering portions of the traumatic experience and being willing to revisit the traumatic experience(s) with a trusted, safe professional. Returning to your version of a “normal life” will depend upon your ability to develop a good support system and to improve your coping skills. Finding a therapist who is skilled in treating trauma and whom you can trust and feel comfortable with is essential.

More resources on PTSD Recovery:

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