Pin Me

The Benefits of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Support Groups

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 10/21/2010

PTSD support groups provide opportunities for those suffering from this debilitating disorder to share their experiences in an effort to alleviate the symptoms and better manage and cope with PTSD. Here, we’ll discuss why these groups are so beneficial.

  • slide 1 of 3

    You Are Not Alone

    PTSD support groups can go a long way toward alleviating the devastating and life-interrupting characteristics of post traumatic stress disorder. These groups are a safe place for sharing and discussing the effects this mental disorder has on those diagnosed with it. In this collective setting, they may learn to manage and deal with PTSD while on the proverbial road to recovery with those undergoing the same thing. There is a wise maxim that states if you don’t work on PTSD, it works on you. What that essentially means is that life may become increasingly incapacitating for those who have this mental ailment if proactive steps and measures aren’t taken to counter the effects of it. I learned that from Vietnam era veterans who suffered for years from PTSD during times when recognition and help for it was largely unavailable and there was an erroneous stigma attached to admitting that you even had it.

    These same veterans, rather than stand back with an attitude of ‘we had to go through it, so should you; suck it up’, demonstrate a heroic level of magnanimity and selflessness by actively seeking to help young veterans returning from more recent wars. Now they are spiritual warriors in a sense, dedicated to fighting PTSD together, and bringing about healing that makes the world a better place.

    Taking the opposite stance largely points to a transparent cloak of macho nonsense that helps no one, and in fact can bring about great harm. Asking for help is a courageous endeavor; it comes from a position of strength, not weakness. Therefore, the primary benefit of a support group dedicated to managing PTSD is to demonstrate to the newcomers and everyone else there that they are not alone. Since a recurrence of PTSD symptoms can creep back into the lives of those who have made great strides in dealing with it too, they need reminders of coping skills. Those who take the time and effort to lend a helping hand in a support group truly live by the credo to never leave a man or woman behind.

  • slide 2 of 3

    Stay Connected and Pass It On

    One of the most devastating characteristics of PTSD can be its tendency to make someone want to isolate and withdraw from society, family, and friends. This increases the potential for a deep depression until the burden is so great that suicide can seem like the only way out. And staggering numbers of tragic suicides point to the need for support groups to supplement the necessary help of trained mental health professionals rendering treatment and counseling to the people who have PTSD.

    Support groups aid in recovery by providing support and understanding for those in the same boat. It's a place where information, advice, and success stories in overcoming this affliction can be available to those who need it. Those new to the disorder may not even realize that PTSD can entail physical symptoms too. Although it's really better to physically attend such a meeting to deal with PTSD in an eyeball to eyeball setting, there are also plenty of online groups that can help, especially when someone wants to go about trying to heal themselves more anonymously.

    Those that get this group-supported help to gain victory over their difficulties tend to stick around and help newcomers along the way. Therefore, some of the hardest trials and misery they once experienced can then become assets to someone else when they freely share it.

    Helping others in such an effort can be an immensely positive reward and isn’t that the best demonstration of what human nature is capable of? Those who would belittle or perpetuate a stigma about the disorder and the support groups designed to cope with it will never know what that feels like.

    We must see that kind of negativity for what it really is and hope that one day they might overcome their own selfish and callous insecurities. That kind of cowardice has no place in a spiritual warrior. As for those looking for relief from PTSD, joining a support group is a brave step that can set you free from prolonged suffering. The websites listed below provide ample resources for finding out how and where to get help, no matter who you are or how you got it.

  • slide 3 of 3

    Sources

    http://ptsdcombat.blogspot.com/

    Help Guide.org: A Trusted Non-Profit Resource http://helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

    National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. What is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?, http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/fact_shts/fs_what_is_ptsd.html.

    National Institute of Mental Health. (2006). Anxiety Disorders, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/anxiety.cfm#1.