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Self-Help PTSD Books

Learn How to Cope with PTSD Symptoms and Other Unhealthy Behaviors


Updated July 23, 2009

The symptoms of PTSD can be very difficult to cope with, and as a result, they can greatly interfere with a person's life. In addition, in an attempt to cope with PTSD symptoms, people sometimes develop a variety of unhealthy behaviors, including substance use, deliberate self-harm, and other impulsive behaviors. Fortunately, there are some resources out there for people seeking help. A number of self-help PTSD books are available that may help individuals cope with their symptoms and other unhealthy behaviors.

Finding Life Beyond Trauma

Finding Life Beyond Trauma: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Heal from Post-Traumatic Stress and Trauma-Related Problems, by Drs. Victoria Follette and Jacqueline Pistorello, is an excellent resource for anyone who feels trapped by their thoughts and feelings surrounding a traumatic event. This workbook is based on acceptance and commitment therapy, and as such, the workbook is not about learning new ways of avoiding or controlling thoughts and feelings. Instead, it focuses on helping an individual live a life that feels meaningful and consistent with his or her values, regardless of what painful feelings may be present.

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life is an excellent workbook by Dr. Steven C. Hayes (with Spencer Smith) that is also based on acceptance and commitment therapy. It describes how you can use mindfulness and acceptance to begin living the life that you want to live by getting in touch with your present moment experience. This workbook is not designed for any particular disorder or person. Instead, it is a wonderful resource for anyone seeking to gain a new perspective on their thoughts and emotions, as well as move forward in living a fuller and more meaningful life. Read this book if you need help putting yourself in the driver's seat and taking control of your life from your thoughts and emotions.

Overcoming the Trauma of Your Motor Vehicle Accident

Each year around 3 million people are injured in motor vehicle accidents, and it has been found that almost 50% of people in an accident where medical attention was needed developed PTSD as well as major depression. Fortunately, Overcoming the Trauma of Your Motor Vehicle Accident: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Program Workbook, by Drs. Edward Hickling and Edward Blanchard, is an excellent workbook for people suffering from the effects of a motor vehicle accident. This workbook provides information on PTSD and motor vehicle accidents and takes the reader through a number of effective coping skills. It also teaches you ways of dealing with problems often associated with PTSD, such as anger, avoidance and depression.

The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide

The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide, by Drs. Alexander L. Chapman and Kim L. Gratz, is an excellent self-help book for borderline personality disorder that may also be useful for people with PTSD. The information presented in this book represents the most up-to-date information on BPD, its treatment, and coping skills for managing its symptoms. Much of the information presented may also be applicable to people with PTSD who are struggling with some of the symptoms of BPD, such as difficulty managing strong emotions, suicidal thoughts, deliberate self-harm behavior, or interpersonal problems.

Freedom from Self-Harm

PTSD and deliberate self-harm (also called non-suicidal self-injury) often co-occur. Freedom from Self-Harm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other Treatments, by Doctors Kim L. Gratz and Alexander L. Chapman, may help those struggling with self-harm behavior. Probably one of the greatest advantages of the book is its presentation of coping skills that someone struggling with self-harm could implement right away. For example, the book provides information on healthy ways of managing emotions, as well as worksheets to help people use these skills.
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