By Dr. Shreya Chatterjee, Psychology
Being in an accident can leave a lot of stress and it may be difficult to get over it easily. A person may feel anxious and stressed out for years following the event. Some people feel a constant sense of danger, and painful memories, this may be a symptom of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Symptoms of PTSD:
Symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person and can develop in few hours, days, weeks or years after the event. There are three main kinds of symptoms:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event: People may have flashbacks, traumatic memories, feelings of distress days after the incident. Some people may even feel physical reactions like sweating, pounding heart and nausea when they remind that event.
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma: Some people may try to avoid certain activities or thoughts or places that remind them about the trauma or may even be unable to remember important aspects of the event. A person suffering from PTSD will feel detached from others, lose interest in activities or restrict their activities as well as contact with other people.
- Increased anxiety and insomnia: A person may have trouble in sleeping or have frequent outbursts of anger, difficulty in concentrating on tasks and may even be hyper vigilant.
Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
There are numerous therapies that can be helpful and effective in treating post traumatic stress disorder.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy includes consulting with a medical counselor and revealing your feelings as well as things that remind you of the trauma. The therapist will help the person in replacing your irrational thoughts about the accident with a more balanced picture.
- Family therapy: Having therapy together with the whole family will help them understand what you are going through and involve everyone in the healing process.
- Medication: Sometimes people suffering from PTSD may be prescribed medication so that they can relieve symptoms of depression or anxiety, though it may not help in overcoming PTSD.
People suffering from PTSD should consult with a therapist or a mental health professional that specializes in the treatment of trauma. For the therapy to work it is best to find a medical specialist or mental health professional with whom you feel understood.