How PTSD Chat Rooms And Other Methods Can Help You Manage Your PTSD

By: Steven Finkelstein

Updated July 30, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

Living with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD presents many challenges. There are multiple methods for managing the condition, and PTSD chat rooms are foremost among them. In this article, we'll go over the attributes of such chat rooms, and we'll also review some other methods through which you can cope with the symptoms and challenges PTSD presents.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is short for post-traumatic stress disorder. You may have heard of it in recent years, as many combat veterans have been diagnosed with it when they come back from active war zones. What you might not realize is that anyone can receive the diagnosis; it isn't only something experienced by soldiers or those in war zones. It can occur anytime a person witnesses an event in which they perceive trauma, a life-threatening event, or other disturbing events. For example, PTSD can be diagnosed following witnessing or being involved in a car accident. It's also important to note that not everyone experiences a traumatic event will also experience PTSD.

What Are Some Of The Symptoms?

There are various symptoms of PTSD and vary from person to person. Someone with PTSD might have unwanted memories of the trauma that impose themselves at inconvenient times, potentially making them easily startled. They might have nightmares where they relive what happened or have difficulty sleeping. They may go to extreme lengths to try and avoid scenarios that bring back memories of the trauma. Some common symptoms include Depression, anxiety, and heightened reactions. Someone who is in the grip of a flashback related to PTSD might be unable to stand. They may shake uncontrollably or temporarily lose touch with reality. It can be just as frightening for the people around them as it is for the individual, as those in the vicinity might not immediately understand what's going on. 

PTSD and Anxiety Disorders

There is also a correlation between people with an anxiety disorder and those with PTSD. Both mental health issues share many symptoms, such as specific phobia, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. PTSD is also classified as an anxiety disorder because well-researched arguments show that fear is the foundation of PTSD, and treatments for the mental health issue involves tackling that fear and overcoming it.

Symptoms of PTSD after Sexual Assault

Symptoms of PTSD can also occur after sexual assault as well. People who have been sexually assaulted may experience feelings of distress, fear, anger, guiltiness, and other negative emotions. There are also physical effects attributed to PTSD occurred after sexual assault. These effects include arthritis, digestive problems, and intense premenstrual symptoms. Survivors of sexual assault are also in danger of receiving sexually transmitted infections. Ultimately, PTSD can physically and mentally harm survivors of sexual assault. As such, someone who experienced it may have less desire for sexual behavior and are likelier to have other sexual problems.


How Long Does It Last?

The condition may last for months, or even years in some cases. A lot depends on resilience, protective factors, and treatment. In some cases, the emotional impact of the events they witnessed might never completely go away. Much depends on the availability and seeking of treatment by the person affected. Someone who refuses to seek help for their PTSD is far less likely to recover from it than someone who is committed to working on the problem.

What About PTSD Chat Rooms?

As far as PTSD chat rooms go, these are online forums where you can log on and speak with people who have experienced similar traumas and responses to them. Chat rooms are appealing for some because they enable users to remain anonymous. For those who feel a stigma around seeking treatment or discussing their experiences, anonymity provides a sense of safety. Chat rooms may also help to normalize PTSD symptoms and reactions to traumatic experiences by helping those struggling to see that they aren't alone in their responses to trauma.


Are PTSD Chat Rooms Effective?

The anonymity factor is one of the reasons that online chat rooms for PTSD remain popular in some circles, but another is the fact that you can use one in your home. Some people have PTSD, and they don't feel ready to take part in talk or group therapy. They would prefer to deal with what happened to them privately, at least at first.

PTSD chat rooms can certainly be effective for these individuals who are not ready to talk face-to-face with anyone about what they went through. You can communicate with people from the privacy of your bedroom or living room. They don't know your real identity, so you might find yourself opening up more easily. They can also make suggestions as to ways that you can manage symptoms and connect with others in your life for support. By learning what has worked for others, you might have the courage to take the next steps toward your recovery.

Potential Drawbacks

There are a few potential drawbacks with PTSD chat rooms worth mentioning. The most significant one is that anytime you are dealing with a chat room scenario in any capacity, you don't know what the people who are in there with you are going to say. Depending on what website you're on, you don't know how much moderation there is going to be, so it could be that someone might decide to say something unhelpful or hurtful.

There's also the issue that the people typically in the chat room with you are not trained mental health professionals. This means that coping skills given by those in the room may not be the healthiest or helpful. This also means that in the event of a crisis for yourself or someone else participating in the group, there isn't a professional present that is trained in handling a crisis.

Other Ways of Treating PTSD

There are different ways of treating PTSD, many of which have research support and are very highly regarded by both those in the recovery and scientific and mental healthcare communities for their proven effectiveness. Group therapy that has facilitated by licensed mental health professionals or reputable groups is one such treatment option. There are many groups for combat veterans with PTSD, and some communities offer groups for PTSD that was derived from other traumatic events.

Various official health organizations have also promoted methods of recovery after a traumatic event. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with PTSD can seek out support from close friends or relatives, find a support group, and developing self-confidence when faced with adversity. National Institute of Mental Health performs clinical trials, in which they determine if new treatments are viable for people with PTSD.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy that's taking place between you and a licensed therapist is also an excellent way to go for those who have PTSD. Some therapists specialize in treating those who have the condition, so you should do a little research before you reach out to someone. It's important to note that "talk therapy" doesn't simply mean "talking", although talking is a part of it. Therapy interventions used by therapists that work with PTSD are specific and involve utilizing research supported means to help you cope and recover.

Couples counseling can also be helpful when you're addressing PTSD. Family members and your partner are very likely to want to help in your recovery and to need help learning how to best support the process. They may also benefit from understanding what you're going through, which can often be explained with the help of a therapist.


Other Options

Your therapist may also have some other suggestions as to things you can try that should relax you and make it less likely that you'll feel overwhelmed by your symptoms. Therapy dogs, music or art therapy, and many other adjunct therapies may be recommended by your therapist to support you in recovery. Beginning with talking with others with similar experiences in an anonymous chat may be the most comfortable place to begin recovery. After a time, moving toward group therapy and individual treatment will provide the most positive impacts on your symptoms and specific challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are There Still Chat Rooms in 2020?

Chat rooms are more than relevant in 2020, even more so this year than any other due to the unprecedented pandemic happening worldwide. With many entertainment venues and businesses shutting their doors and millions of people undergoing a mandatory quarantine, the Internet is the most convenient means of communication. Thus, chat rooms have become incredibly important for people to use in lieu of socializing with friends or others had they the chance to partake in any social activities pre-COVID.

With chat rooms becoming needed for this unpredictable year, people with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD can use the rooms to chat online with other people about their daily routine and problems. While it is important to state that people in chat rooms are not professional experts, being able to seek support from another person with PTSD from the comforts of one’s home can help them.

In bringing up chat rooms, forums are also brought into the discussion. However, there are multiple key differences between the two formats. Forums are asynchronous, meaning that users post their thoughts and wait until somebody else responds to the comment or adds more to the discussion. On the other hand, chat rooms are synchronous, allowing people to live chat with others as if they are conversing with them on the street. One more difference is that while forums require users to register an account with them, chat rooms do not undergo the same process. Thus, this allows as many people as possible to use the chat room without signaling them out for any registration purposes. Of course, this makes moderation of chat rooms much more difficult than forums. But the user has the power to either block problematic users, report them so that they are reprimanded for their actions, or to censor specific words so that it does not show up in the person’s chat room on their computer.

Does Anyone Still Use Chat Rooms?

Chat rooms are still in use; however, they are not marketed as only being chat rooms. Many social media platforms offer chat rooms, such as Discord. Discord is one of the most popular chat programs in that there are many specific chat rooms.

There are also chat rooms for people with PTSD as well, and these can be found by googling “PTSD chat rooms”. Another popular use of chat rooms is Facebook Groups. There are various PTSD support and recovery groups in which users can discuss their experiences with the disorder. Certain groups also organize in-person meet-ups as well, thus moving beyond the live chat format. Of course, people do not have to engage in meet ups or join certain chat rooms. The benefit in using chat rooms is that people have the opportunity to join or decline any group. It is important to consider chat rooms that are focused on a topic that best fits one’s personality.

What are the best chat rooms?

One of the best chat rooms specifically for people with mental health disorders is Supportiv. Unlike many other chat rooms, Supportive will always have a professional person available to talk to 24/7. According to user reviews of Supportiv, they were always connected to a professional in a quick and efficient manner and felt satisfied with the whole experience. Other benefits of Supportiv include a feature in which users do not have to search for specific pages that relate to their problems. By getting in contact with a professional expert, they will ensure that you are talking to somebody who can relate to you without you putting in any extra effort. The moderators are also well versed in a plethora of mental health topics and they watch over the chat rooms in real time, ensuring that there is no harmful behavior present at all times.

Another incredible chat room is Discord. While Discord is primarily used by gaming enthusiasts, there are public servers (or otherwise known as chat rooms) that are focused on many topics. This includes PTSD chat rooms as well. To find some public servers, the following link will take you to a webpage where you can type in the search bar a group that you’d be interested in joining and see if Discord has a chat room that meets your expectations. These chat room also allow participants to engage in voice chat as well, so if you find somebody you are comfortable talking to, voice chat is an option. The downside to using Discord is that there are a lot of different people use these servers. There may be groups in which individuals may focus on harming others instead of helping them. If you encounter such behavior, just know that it is more than recommended to report and block them. If these actions do not elicit their ban from the chat room altogether, then it is better to leave the room and find another group.

How do I find chat rooms?

There are many options in finding chat rooms. You can always use Google and type in “chat rooms” into the search bar. The search results will vary from chat rooms, hotline phone numbers, and even social media as well. Chat rooms can also be found in specific programs as well. Take for instance Discord. While Discord’s main focus is on games, the platform also provides chat rooms for other topics as well, such having an outlet for people with PTSD. The best thing about Discord is that it is also available on cellular devices as well. This provides a much more ease of convenience for people with PTSD to use their phones to participate in chat rooms as well as use their computers. You can also find chat rooms by perusing the app store of your cellular device and finding any apps that may meet your standards. For instance, a popular app is Amino. This application provides communities for a wide variety of topics. There are also blogs and videos to watch as well, adding to its entertainment aspect. It is a popular chat room and can be easily accessed from your phone.

Can Chat Rooms Track You?

It is possible for individual people to track your IP address in chat rooms; however, the chance of it happening is low. IP addresses that people can publicly access do not lead them to the user’s house, but instead to their Internet Service Provider. While there is still a chance that the person can track the user’s internal IP address, it is unlikely.

But there are ways to protect your identity online.

First, make sure to not use your real name or have a picture of yourself in the chat rooms. While chat rooms geared towards mental health are well moderated, it is still imperative to take the extra precaution and disclose your identity as much as possible.

Secondly, invest in a VPN. VPN, or otherwise known as Virtual Private Network, is a program that protects your computer or mobile device from potential hackers. There are many free VPNs online that can easily be found by using search engines such as Google. Alternatively, you can also pay for certain VPNs, and they will offer good security for your device. While chat rooms are safe to use, there are many steps you can take that will help you in the long run.

Are There Any Good Free Chat Rooms?

Chat rooms are plenty on the Internet and even through mobile apps as well. Amino is a well-known chat room that is free to use and houses many communities for different topics. You can also read blogs and watch videos that relate to the topic you are interested in. Another popular chat room is Discord, available for both computers and mobile devices. Discord is comprised of channels that are each focused on a specific topic. While the platform caters to the gaming audience, Discord is home to plenty of topics, including having people with PTSD communities. One more free chat room is Telegram. It is a private chat group; however, these groups are free and various organizations make their private chat groups available for any person to use and participate in as they see fit.

What is the Most Popular Chat Site?

It is safe to say that the most popular chat site is Discord. Discord, while having a huge focus on the gaming community, also provides people the chance to create their own communities that can be centered on broad or specific topics. People can participate in text chats in each community, or they can also use voice chat as well and introduce themselves to new people and potentially make friends from all over the world. Discord is well maintained and enjoyed by countless users all over the globe.

There are other popular chat sites as well, and some may be connected to other, popular social media sites. Take for instance Facebook. Through Facebook groups, people can create groups about any topic. There are various groups for PTSD support and recovery, and while these groups may have its fair share of hostile users, there are plenty of groups with welcoming users that can enrich one’s recovery with PTSD.

Are Chat Rooms Safe?

While Chat Rooms are safe, it can also depend on the specific chat room’s level of moderation and the individuals within the group. There are chat rooms in which moderators are not as readily available, resulting in toxic messages from unruly individuals that can be hurtful. But good chat rooms have proficient moderators who block harmful content before the average user comes across it. If there is a user that is consistently problematic, you can block the user and prevent them from interacting with you.  These individuals can also hack into your computer and learn more about your private life. While their hacking attempts are rare attempts, this can be avoided by not using your real name while online and investing in a VPN. To learn more about using VPNs, please refer to the “Chat Rooms Track You” portion of the FAQ.

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