Traumatic Stress Section: Where To Get Help?

Where to Get Help?

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms related to a traumatic event(s) or suffering from a trauma-related mental health disorder, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it is important to be evaluated by a trained clinician who is familiar with trauma, its assessment, and treatment.

To find where to get help in Canada, please refer to the Canadian Psychological Association’s Guide:

Tips for Self-Care:

1. Finding support from others

People affected by trauma or trauma-related mental health disorders, such as PTSD, often isolate themselves. Try not to withdraw from those around you. There is probably someone among your friends and family who can listen to you and help. Studies have shown that people who benefit from a strong support network are more likely to see an improvement in their symptoms (Brewin, Andrews, & Valentine, 2000; Scarpa, Haden, & Hurley, 2006).

2. Seek professional advice

Make use of the services that are available to you (doctor, mental health specialist, victim support services, etc.). Self-help groups, where you can talk with others who have experienced similar experiences to yours, can be helpful. If it is part of your daily life, spirituality may also help you (Connor, Davidson, & Lee, 2003).

3. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and medications

It is not advisable to use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to help you cope. These will aggravate your symptoms, even if they offer comfort or relief of symptoms at first (Nishith, Resick, & Mueser, 2001). If you think you may need medication you should consult your doctor.

4. Share about the event

Research has found that avoiding the things that trigger unpleasant thoughts about the event actually prevents such thoughts from gradually fading (Brewin, 2001). Devoting time to thinking and talking about the traumatic event and how it has affected you (with healthcare professionals, friends or volunteers, for example), and giving yourself time for rest and relaxation is a constructive way of managing intrusive thoughts.

5. Try to resume your normal life

Try to resume your normal routines and activities where possible, as soon as you are able to do so. Individuals suffering from traumatic stress tend to stop social and work activities, which serve to provide structure and meaning to their day.

6. Acceptance

The intensity of your suffering may take you by surprise, but this is caused by what you have been through. Sitting with difficult thoughts and feelings serves to help reduce them over time.

7. Learn about your symptoms

Try to learn more about what you are experiencing; the aim is not to become an expert in your condition, but rather to know more about your symptoms so that you can overcome them.