Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD, is a psychological disorder that is typically followed by a traumatic event. Normally, when we hear about PTSD, we naturally associate this disorder with veterans of war. However, PTSD can be seen everywhere. This disorder does not discriminate against age, race, nationality, or gender. The way people live life has also changed significantly within the past few decades, especially after the economy downturn. Since then, we have been seeing more and more PTSD patients who aren’t just veterans or active duty members. We have learned that anyone who has suffered from trauma can be a victim of PTSD, and as research continues, we will be more equipped to help these individuals. PTSD is seen in a rape victim or someone who has survived an automobile accident. These victims of PTSD may struggle to attend to their normal daily activities when something reminds them of the trauma.
Severely traumatized patients can be complicated and require extensive clinical information, including several specialties, to devise the best treatment plan. I believe that early treatment in recent trauma patients is very important for long-term treatment of PTSD. However, many people don’t get help during the early stages of PTSD. PTSD can be treated using psychotherapy and medicines for someone with recent trauma and long-term trauma. Aside from a few required steps for diagnosis, treatment plans vary person to person. The most difficult part is when the patients don’t get professional help during the early stages of trauma.
Psychological First Aid (PFA), developed by National Center for PTSD, is used to reduce episodes of anxiety caused by PTSD. PFA is a tool that not only helps medical professionals but also friends and family members who would like to help their loved ones suffering from trauma by helping them provide support and care using a method that respects the patient’s dignity, culture, and abilities. Crisis intervention typically involves five modules: understanding and exploring the patient’s experience by offering to talk about what happened and providing reassurance; providing their needs and understanding their problems and offering them solutions; understanding what they are feeling by asking them how they are doing; understand their emotions, and most importantly, finding a place for them where they feel safe and secure.
It’s normal human behavior to be scared when you or someone you know are in danger or experience something traumatic. However, if you still experience these feelings months later, you should speak to a doctor. PTSD can be detected early, and with proper help, it can be treated. Just like with any other disease, the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to treat. Whether you are a veteran returning from active duty or someone who survived an accident, it is important to get help as soon as you start experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
Need help? In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Abhishek Patel majored in Business & Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York and continued his education by attending Kaplan University for Education Psychology. He is currently working in the field of marketing while surviving the harsh Chicago weather.