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How Long Does It Take To Heal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

July 2, 2015 Michele Rosenthal

The length of time required to heal PTSD varies by individual, which makes a commitment to the process so crucial to success.

We all want to know how long it takes to heal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I know you want to heal yesterday, but the truth about PTSD, according to its diagnostic criteria, is that it doesn’t clear up overnight like a bad rash. Instead, we each have our own healing journey that has its own timeline. Settle in now for the long haul. Be realistic about what you are attempting to do. Give yourself permission to take the time you need. Decide you will be patient. And remember, how long it takes to heal posttraumatic stress disorder varies.

How Long It Takes to Heal PTSD Varies

Both your history and your trauma have created PTSD circumstances that are unique to you. This means that how long it takes to heal PTSD in your case can only be determined by your own process. While we all want one, there is no crystal ball.

Factors that influence the length of healing time required include:

  1. Family of origin
  2. Genetics
  3. Support (both personal and professional)
  4. Resources (especially financial)
  5. Consistency of healing work
  6. Length of trauma
  7. Type of trauma
  8. Length of time struggling with PTSD

The length of time required to heal PTSD varies by individual, which makes commitment to the process so crucial to success.While all of these influences can make the process speed up or slow down, your potential for healing remains the same. That is, even if you have struggled with PTSD symptoms for over 25 years (like I did) your potential to heal still remains strong (Today, I'm 100% free of all PTSD symptoms.).

What It Takes to Heal PTSD

Obviously, healing PTSD means understanding PTSD symptoms, plus finding a treatment approach with which you feel comfortable. But there's another component that's incredibly important and that we don't talk about enough: Commitment. PTSD recovery always includes fear of the changes it requires. Fear is the number one thing that hijacks healing, which means you need to develop a way to move past the fear, plus continue with healing despite it. That's where commitment comes in.

Committing to the idea of healing means knowing you will:

  • Have great successes that make you feel you are almost at the finish line
  • Have terrific failures that make you feel you will never be free
  • Face challenges that threaten to destroy you
  • Be asked to do things you don’t think you can (or even want to) do
  • Be required to face who you have been, are and want to be – and make difficult choices about each one

Not exactly a picnic. But committing to the idea of healing also means:

  • Affirming your will to survive survival
  • Confirming your desire for freedom
  • Deciding you will triumph over trauma
  • Choosing to take back your power
  • Moving past trauma and getting on with your life

The pros outweigh the cons, don’t you think? Whenever your commitment wavers – which it will – stand still, take a deep breath and ask yourself this question: “Do I really want to live this way forever?” If the answer is, "Yes," then sit yourself down and really enjoy those PTSD symptoms. If the answer is, "No," then throw your shoulders back, hold your head up and walk forward with as much force and power as your body can stand.

How long it takes to heal PTSD varies but winning against PTSD starts with your attitude. Develop a strongly committed one.

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity and Heal Your PTSD: Dynamic Strategies that Work. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website, HealMyPTSD.com.

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2015, July 2). How Long Does It Take To Heal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2015/07/how-long-it-takes-to-heal-ptsd-varies



Author: Michele Rosenthal

Jimbo
July, 9 2019 at 7:38 pm
There is no rest for the relentless time wasted process of recovery , 4 years lost now perhaps another 4 who knows like going thro a door to find out there’s the same door in front of you every time your brave enough to go thro it ptsd suckes real badly take probiotics and cbd it helps the stomach and stops the startle affects cbd fOr your dorsal vagus nerve to calm you too high strength thou
Jimbo
July, 9 2019 at 7:37 pm
There is no rest for the relentless time wasted process of recovery , 4 years lost now perhaps another 4 who knows like going thro a door to find out there’s the same door in front of you every time your brave enough to go thro it ptsd suckes real badly take probiotics and cbd 3000mg it helps the stomach and stops the startle affects cbd 8s g99d fOr your dorsal vagus nerve to calm you too high strength thou
Lu
April, 6 2019 at 10:26 pm
This article rings true in so many ways. I have a long history of abuse-multiple types of abuse. By my late teen/early adulthood I had developed, what my therapist referred to as a “fractured personality”. I spent 5 years in intensive therapy dealing with PTSD -- putting the pieces of myself back together again. 25 years later I still have not escaped the “triggers”. I am hopeful that in time they will dwindle down to nothing. Until this day arrives, I continue to fight for myself. It’s been a long hard battle, but certainly wort it.
Doesn't matter
November, 10 2018 at 12:13 am
People judge u quikly. you loose your friends an d family. You become alone.people make fun of you. You cant hold a job. You cant survive.
Lu
April, 6 2019 at 10:55 pm
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself what you need to feel better, then let go of the bad feelings. Don't self medicate. Using drugs or alcohol only add to your troubles. It takes lots of practice, lots of work, but you are worth it. Good luck.
Brendan
August, 31 2018 at 2:33 am
I enjoyed reading your article, many good points.
Everybody has their own journey and different ways of healing.
Myself, I was in a hole for a long time and only recently getting back to the surface.
The most important thing is to give yourself time, it’s not a race!
The mind is a very strange beast, just when you think you are on top of the world it can turn upside down on you. It’s very important to realise the symptoms of when you are feeling down and take ownership of those feelings and not letting them control your existence.
At the end of the day they are only thoughts.
Be kind to yourself above everything ?
Amy
March, 3 2018 at 9:02 am
i would rather be isolated, have my ptsd, cry everyday and never leave my house again. There is no hope for what my family has placed on me. What they did will go down in the books of history. For it is too long to tell. I try to start fresh. I have no motivation, am so tired I can not get out of my night clothes, and take so many many pills they dont touch my insomnia, nightmares, manic depression, and crying. Youd think after 2 years Id be alright. Well its hard when each year a court hearing is due because your family turned on you after all you did for them. Mom, dad, former sister.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natalie
July, 18 2018 at 1:16 am
I can’t imagine what you go through. I hope everything with you will turn out alright in the end.
Adam
February, 8 2018 at 9:02 am
I am not so good in english but is easier to say than do it.... I never expected that I can have PTSD bat I have already and is very painful ,almost year this mo. I am and I thank You for this what Lred and I hope that l not going to die with ths stress.
Geraldine
January, 31 2018 at 3:54 pm
Hi I found your article very informative, wish I had read this a 2 years ago, by partner has PTSD from Multiple traumas and had totally withdrawn and constantly angry at everyone and everything , he shut down , blamed me , got nasty and now lives on his own will only talk to his sons for an hour or so every now and again,he says he is compartmentalising everything, its sad I still want to helphim but he won't acknowledge my presence let alone help.
Vinnie Strumolo
July, 13 2015 at 6:36 pm
It was very refreshing reading your article. I have been working with trauma victims for 25 years. I have treated children as young as 3 and a half years old and adults as old as 70 years old and have explained over and over to therapists that I have trained that the time and timing of treatment is critical. The time is at the pace of the client and the timing of the treatment is critical for the therapist to know and is usually based on their experiences. The therapist has to know when to push a little and when to back off. I have also suffered a family trauma later in my adult life (30's) and it took me 4 years to work through the process. I can tell by your writing that you truly understand the process and what it takes to bring someone through it.
Lisa
July, 12 2015 at 9:20 pm
An excellent article. Straight to the core of the matter. No dancing around the subject. I like.

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