The Best Careers for PTSD Patients

Man with spinal cord injury using a cane and standing with a service dog
A man is working with a service dog. (Image: Huntstock/DisabilityImages/Getty Images)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Signs of PTSD include having unwanted, vivid recollections of the event and difficulty remaining calm. You may be irritable, have trouble sleeping, and constantly be watching or listening for danger. Finding a job or career with PTSD can be a challenge as you may have trouble concentrating, feel the need to work in a low-stress environment and not wish to deal with the public.

Outdoor Work

People with PTSD might be drawn to outdoor work. This could involve gardening or yard work, such as being a nursery owner, gardener or landscaper. Good career choices include working in a park ranger position that does not involve dealing with the public or working in a research capacity in the forest or other natural area. Working in nature can relieve stress and give you a sense of productivity and accomplishment.

Working with Animals

PTSD sufferers might find it peaceful to work with non-threatening animals. This could involve working at a guinea pig shelter or cat shelter. You may enjoy grooming animals or training assistive animals. Working with animals can be emotionally healing as well as rewarding.

Advocacy

If you are interested in working with others, you might wish to become an advocate for the less fortunate. This may involve assisting children, the disabled, the elderly or any disadvantaged group. Working in the capacity of helping others, as long as you find it emotionally uplifting, can help you to see your own problems in a new context.

Working with Objects

While you may have difficulty concentrating, many types of careers that involve directly working with objects can sometimes be a good fit. Ideas include becoming a professional coin grader, product assembler or jewelry maker. Many people find working with objects to be calming and low-stress.

In Summation

The National Institute of Mental Health explains that talk therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder usually takes 6 to 12 weeks and can help provide guidance with career and other issues. For veterans, the U.S. Veterans Administration has a National Center for PTSD that can assist you with your specific needs.

It is imperative not to allow post-traumatic stress disorder to make you feel as though your life is over. If you are new to the job market or unable to continue your former occupation, consider the ideas presented or try any job that allows you to follow your passion. Artwork, music, literature or research might bring out the positive. Giving yourself the opportunity to explore a suitable career option is the first step.

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