Post traumatic stress disorder is a serious mental health condition in which a person experiences a myriad of symptoms in response to a traumatic event. They may go through depression, experience anxiety and even think that they are living the experience over again. It is vital to get help for people at risk of post traumatic stress disorder as soon as possible. According to the National Center for PTSD, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are a variety of steps that should be taken as soon as possible to minimize the effect of this devastating condition.
The first step is to protect the individual from any additional trauma. For instance, if someone is in the middle of a horrific car accident and is just standing there taking it all in, it is important to move them away from the situation. They need to feel that they are out of danger. The less trauma to which they are exposed, the less severe the post traumatic stress disorder may be. There will be less horror for them to remember and to which they can react.
You may physically assist by walking them away from a car wreck or try to talk him or her through it, such as if you are standing on a battlefield with a wounded soldier. Also keep the victim away from anyone who could further exacerbate the situation. These may include a criminal waiting with police who just robbed a house or a newscaster screaming questions.
Allow the person to connect with others. For instance, someone who has just been through a horrible car accident may just want to hug his or her spouse. The victim may feel a lot better if he or she shares a phone call with a priest, rabbi or other religious leader. Just a friend can help ground them.
The person may immediately go into a panic mode after a tragedy. Immediate medical attention including medication may be needed. Try not to force anything on to the person.
It is important to give the person an outlet to let out their grief at the situation. At no time should the trauma be minimized. They should be encouraged to get their feelings out. Immediate mental health counseling should be provided. The counselor should be compassionate and allow the victim to explore his or her feelings. It is vital that the person not repress these feelings because they can exacerbate the condition.
Post traumatic stress disorder can all but destroy a person’s life. Getting help to people sooner can translate into better treatment that can set them on the road to recovery.