Lifestyle Changes – Taking Control

Old 05-26-2002, 07:47 AM
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Morning Glory
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Post Lifestyle Changes – Taking Control

Survivors of trauma with PTSD need to take active steps to deal with their PTSD symptoms. Often, these steps involve making a series of thoughtful changes in lifestyle, to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Common lifestyle changes include:

Calling about treatment and joining a PTSD support group.

Often, it’s hard to take the first step and join a PTSD treatment group. Survivors say to themselves "What will happen there? Nobody can help me but myself anyway." And if you’re struggling with PTSD, it is often hard to meet new people and trust them enough to open up about yourself. But after going along, it often is a great relief to feel that you’ve taken positive action. Then when you’ve gone to a few meetings, it can feel great to begin a friendship with another survivor of trauma.

Increasing contact with other survivors of trauma.

Often the best source of understanding, and comraderie and support is other survivors of trauma. By joining a survivors of trauma (i.e., veteran's organization for vets) organization or otherwise increasing contact with other survivors, it is possible to reverse the process of more and more isolation and distrust of others, and slow or stop the vicious cycle of symptom worsening, less contact with others, less satisfaction in life, symptoms continuing to worsen, and so on.

Reinvesting in personal relationships with family and friends.

Most survivors of trauma with PTSD still have some kind of relationship with someone: a son or daughter, a wife or partner, an old friend or work acquaintance. Often, by taking action to have more contact with those persons, and working at improving those relationships, they can re-connect to others and get more good things happening in their lives again.

Changing neighborhoods.

PTSD is a disorder in which trauma survivors feel that the world is a very dangerous place and that the likelihood of being harmed is high. This means that living in a high-crime area is not a good idea; it will only make those feelings worse and confirm their beliefs. By moving, if possible, to a more safe and quiet neighborhood, there will be fewer things to set off traumatic memories and more chance to move to a reconsideration of personal beliefs about danger.

Stopping drinking alcohol or using drugs/Joining an alcohol or drug treatment program.

Many, many survivors of trauma have turned to alcohol or drugs to help cope with PTSD. However, alcohol and other drugs, while possibly having some positive effects in the short-term, always makes things worse in the medium- or long-term. Therefore, it is important for many survivors of trauma with PTSD to stop using alcohol or drugs, and stay stopped. This lifestyle change is required if they are benefit from treatment and stay on the path to recovery. Most people are more effective in stopping drinking or using drugs if they team up with others in recovery and get involved in a treatment program.

Starting an exercise program.

It’s important to see a doctor before starting to exercise, but after getting the OK, exercise in moderation has a number of possible benefits for those with PTSD. Walking, jogging, swimming, weight lifting, and other forms of exercise may reduce physical tension. They may help distract the person from painful memories or worries, and thus give them a break from difficult emotions. Perhaps most important, they can improve self-esteem and create feelings of personal control.

Starting to volunteer in the community.

It’s important to feel like you’ve got something to offer to others, that you’re making a contribution. When you’re not working, it can be hard to get this feeling. One way that many survivors of trauma have reconnected with their communities and regained a feeling of contribution is to volunteer – to help with youth programs, medical services, literacy programs, community sporting activities, and so on.
Old 11-07-2002, 06:46 PM
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sidney's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: new mexico
Posts: 242
Thanks MG

Read this post and found some good ideas. I used to walk alot and I knew it was good for me but I seemed to have lost the will. I was thinking today that it felt like my life was over and Im just here to fulfill needs for others .(work,pay mortgage,buy food, all that good stuff).

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Old 05-28-2003, 11:14 PM
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Morning Glory
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