How Can You Spot PTSD from Someone You Don’t Know and How to Help Them.

Millions of patients in the US have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects many individuals. Suppose you or anyone has developed PTSD from experiencing or witnessing traumatic or life-threatening events. It will be tough to have the life that the subject wants.

Attacks, hostage-taking, accidents, etc. Many tragic events following which the victims must benefit from routine care to avoid suffering the painful consequences of post-traumatic stress.

How to Spot PTSD from Someone You don’t know:

Understanding how PTSD manifests itself is a crucial criterion for spotting on anyone.

Symptoms can start immediately, a few days after the event, or be much later. In the month following the event, a State of Acute Stress is possible. Symptoms are broadly similar to PTSD but are earlier and easier to treat

By definition, PTSD symptoms last beyond a month can be present for months or years, with significant consequences on daily life.

The reactions following a traumatic event are varied, but what should alert you is great distress, dark thoughts/suicidal thoughts. Also, disorders (especially sleep) without any improvement for more than a month, and a significant disruption of professional and/or personal life.

Four Typical Symptom Modalities of PTSD are Found:

  1. Revival or Flashbacks: A feeling of reliving the scene or a “piece” of the event (the whole scenery or detail, an image, a sound, a smell, a sensation). We then feel the same emotion as during the event, same old. It ‘intrudes’ thoughts regularly; you can’t control it. It can be triggered by something (a noise, a picture) or not and can happen during the day, often at bedtime or night, in the form of nightmares.
  2. Targeted Avoidance of What may Recall the Event: Situations, places, people, thoughts. The subject can isolate himself in an area that appears safe (home), withdraw into himself, and limit links with the outside world.
  3. A Significant State of Alert: Hyper-awakening of the body and psyche, hypervigilance day and night. The subject is on his guard, despite himself. The energy cost is essential.
  4. Adverse Changes in Thoughts and Emotions: Morale fluctuates, feelings change very quickly from one moment to another with negative experiences (anger, sadness, fear, shame, guilt, etc.), memory difficulties, and concentration. It might be hard to express or even feel the usual emotions.

The subjects have the impression that the world, the others, has become dangerous. They are suspicious of everything, and everyone can be agitated, have inevitable violence while finding this suspicion unusual in them.

How to Help:

Let us note that it is easier to help someone you’re familiar with who suffers from PTSD than an individual you barely know.

The first step is to provide care in “defusing.” Nurses or caregivers can do this, not necessarily therapists. The idea is to intervene as swiftly as possible to bring help to the person, meet their basic needs, and have the best treatment for PTSD.  

Calm fear, ensure the role of presence and check if they are not too disoriented and confused. Some highly exposed people can extricate themselves from the overwhelming situation by dissociating themselves, that is, by disconnecting their sensory, emotional, or thought process.

It is a survival mechanism activated in extreme cases. Somebody can trigger the dissociative mechanism automatically, and then return to a state of equilibrium can be difficult. 

Then comes the time for psychological “debriefing.” It can be done or individually in a group. The goal is to put the thought system back in place, often frozen, to allow the person to integrate the event and assimilate the trauma. This debriefing should not occur before the first 48 hours, once the initial state of inertia has been passed to not force an early activation of the traumatic memory.

The last step is psychotherapy, allowing the subject to come out of the trauma’s grip. Therapists or PTSD treatment centers help restore the belief system and core values and encourage them to go back to the “community of the living.” It fixes a climate of internal security and confidence in the environment; it reconnects attachment bonds to life.

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