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VA » Health Care » PTSD: National Center for PTSD » Help » Self-Help and Coping


Self-Help and Coping

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Self-Help and Coping

It is common to experience some level of stress reactions after a trauma. Many people feel detached or down, have sleep problems like nightmares, or have flashbacks where they feel the event is happening again. How people respond to these normal reactions may make the difference between long-lasting symptoms and short-lived problems.

In this section learn about coping strategies and self-help tools that can help you manage stress reactions. This material also benefits anyone who wants to manage stress after therapy or when PTSD symptoms are triggered.

If you have PTSD, or have symptoms that last longer than a few months after the traumatic event is over, your best chance of getting better is by working with a mental health or medical provider. Good treatments are available that have been shown to help all kinds of people. If you continue to experience distress, see a mental health or medical provider. Your primary care provider is a good place to start. Or, talking to your primary care provider is a good place to start.

When those who have been through trauma take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. For people who have completed therapy for PTSD, practicing coping skills helps manage symptoms that can arise due to triggers or new stress. Learn about healthy coping strategies that you can use after a trauma or for continued self-care.

Learn about Coping

  • Coping with Traumatic Stress Reactions
    When trauma survivors take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. Learn about healthy coping strategies that you can use after a trauma.
  • Negative Coping and PTSD
    If you have the symptoms of PTSD, you may try to deal with problems in ways that cause more harm than good. This is called negative coping. Negative coping means you use quick fixes that may make a situation worse in the long run.

Other Self-Help Strategies

  • Mindfulness Practice in the Treatment of Traumatic Stress
    Grounding yourself in the present moment can help you cope better with unpleasant thoughts and emotions.
  • Peer Support Groups
    Locate and learn more about peer support groups to help those diagnosed with PTSD or caring for someone with PTSD.
  • Dogs and PTSD
    Learn about the role of dogs in managing symptoms and PTSD recovery.

Tools to Help Manage Symptoms

  • Coping with Unwanted Thoughts: RESET for Active Duty Soldiers
    RESET is a one-hour video training to teach active duty soldiers strategies to manage unwanted or intrusive thoughts after a trauma.
  • PTSD Coach: Mobile App
    This mobile app has self-assessments, symptom-tracking, and coping skills to help you address and monitor stress. Available for iOS and Android.
  • PTSD Coach Online
    A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.
  • Mindfulness Coach: Mobile App
    This app includes mindfulness exercises to practice on your own or with guidance and strategies to help overcome challenges to mindfulness practice. Includes a log and reminders to support your mindfulness practice. Available for iOS.

A woman using her phone. In the foreground, there is a close up of a mobile screen showing the app logo.

PTSD Coach

Learn about and manage PTSD symptoms.

Mobile screen with multiple app icons floating above it.

Mobile Apps

Apps for self-help, education, and support after trauma.


By admin