Physical violence, natural disasters, bombings, accidents, rapes are all traumatic events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in survivors of such tragedies. Although it is quite natural to get affected by a traumatic or life threatening event but if the stress starts to effect normal daily activities even after some time has passed one may be suffering from PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). A post-traumatic stress disorder can last for several days, weeks, or even months. If the symptoms persist for more than three months it can be classified as chronic disorder. In this case, a therapy with a psychiatrist or a psychologist can be helpful. Individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress are more prone to alcoholism and addictions. Many a times if left untreated post-traumatic stress can relapse several years later if the person has to deal directly or indirectly with a traumatic event again. Many a time individuals who have undergone post-traumatic stress severely hamper their ability to overcome trauma in the next instance.
What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress is actually a severe anxiety disorder that arises as a result of a traumatic event. The person with post-traumatic stress disorder may be the victim of the event itself or the witness of a disaster involving other victims. Any individual irrespective of age or gender can get affected by PTSD. Factors such as intensity and time duration for which a person has to witness or experience the traumatic event can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. Survivors of certain types of trauma such as violent attacks or sexual assault are more likely to develop PTSD. As per one estimate the prevalence of complete post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among populations of conflict zones and areas affected by catastrophic events such as a natural disaster is around 50% more than in normal circumstances. Even around 5 to 40% of people such as relief and rescue workers who witness some tragedy after the tragedy have actually struck undergo symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress
The main symptoms of post-traumatic stress are insomnia, nightmares, irritability, isolation, anger, fear, sometimes violence or pathological behaviour such as alcoholism, substance abuse and even depression. Reliving the event through bad memories or flashes of the event known as flashback is another common symptom. Having negative thoughts and feelings and avoiding situations or events or places that may remind one of the said events is another of the symptom of PTSD. In some people, post-traumatic stress can lead to more disabling disorders such as avoidance or people, crowd, phobia of public transport and much more. There is also a survivor syndrome among victims or witnesses who develop a sense of guilt because they are alive and others have died at the scene of the disaster. Many a time for people suffering from post-traumatic stress is hard to control their emotions due to the feeling of helplessness they have experienced in the past; this may even lead to suicidal thoughts.
Dealing with Post-traumatic Stress
Support for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress is very important. Thus the first step to deal with post-traumatic stress is not leave the victim alone often. Listen and reassure the victim when needed. The relatives and friends of people in post-traumatic stress must ensure that the victim does not isolate himself and is well surrounded by near and dear ones. Frequent reference to the traumatic event even when reassuring the victim is not healthy and should be avoided. A drug therapy may be considered if symptoms persist for several days and become troublesome every day. In case of insomnia, the same can be treated with sleeping pills. Some tips to overcome or cope with Post-traumatic Stress (PTSD) are ask from help either from family or friends or one can always consult a professional. Speak about your feelings to someone you can trust. Don’t isolate yourself and take off time for recreation and regular exercise. Eat healthy and surround yourself with people that matter, join a support group or seek therapy if required.