Monday, July 13, 2015

Witnessing a Traumatic Event - What Can It Do to Someone?

Do you have a loved one who has been acting strangely lately? Do you want to help him, but you just don't know how? Don't fret or panic. He might just be experiencing the aftereffects of  having witnessed a traumatic event.

Witnessing a traumatic event can affect a person’s emotional, mental and physical health. Consequently, they might behave and feel differently after the impact. It is normal to experience these symptoms. They usually cease within a few weeks. However, if they continue for a month or so, this can lead to post traumatic stress disorder. The infographic below from Nungkari shows all the signs and symptoms of this disorder.

Do I Have PTSD? - The Signs & Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

You can help your loved one overcome post traumatic stress disorder by doing the following:

1) Talk to him - Let him know that you're ready to listen to him. Do this in a very gentle manner. He might feel uncomfortable about sharing his feeling and thoughts at first. Talking it out will help him feel better faster.

2) Encourage him to do something he enjoys - Redirect his attention to his hobbies or to his pets. Invite him to go out with you and go with him somewhere he feels comfortable and can relax.

3) Remind him to eat healthily and to have enough sleep - Staying healthy is important during times of stress. Ask him to sit down with you every meal time so you can make sure he doesn't miss any meals. If he dislikes eating with you, always leave some food that he can eat when he's hungry. Help him get regular good sleep by keeping noise and distractions to a minimum.

4) Talk to his support system - Ask his friends, schoolmates or co-workers to drop by. It might be easier for him to talk about it with them than with you. Talking to others will make him realize that he's not alone. It will also help to keep more positive.

5) Stop him from drinking alcohol or taking drugs - He might resort to alcohol or drugs to alter his mood or to numb his feelings. Gently tell him that doing this will only make him feel worse. Avoid reprimanding him because this might cause him to clam up.

Sometimes, love and care are not enough to help a loved one cope with stress. Talk to a professional if his reactions to stress start to affect his work and his quality of life. Ask for recommendations only from people you trust.