Pay attention to post-earthquake stress disorder

Psychiatrist Dr. Rıfat İnci, who drew attention to the increase in the number of applications from persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to outpatient clinics after the earthquake, which was the disaster of the century, said: “When we are exposed to a traumatic event or a serious danger As in the example of an earthquake, our body gives one of two responses: it is ready to fight the danger, or it is ready to stay away from the danger and try to avoid it .

This is called the fight or flight response. If a huge brown bear suddenly appears in front of us while walking in the woods, our body’s natural reactions are normal to a possible attack and often prevent us from being harmed. Post-traumatic stress disorder causes this response to be altered, impaired, or malfunctioning, and people with PTSD experience anxiety even in the absence of stress and danger. Many people who have been in a traumatic fight-or-flight situation are affected in some way. It is very difficult for anyone to return to normal life or deal with the situation after the event. People who remain in this situation can, over time or with the expert support they receive in this process, recover and overcome PTSD. But people who can’t get over it develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and if left untreated, a worse picture emerges. Even months or years after the event, these people continue to feel the same fear.

Different symptoms are seen in people with post-traumatic stress disorder; One of them is unwanted memories. Memories and thoughts about the event can relive the trauma. This situation affects the person’s daily life and can be triggered by spontaneous words or an object or situation that he associates with the event. For example, if an earthquake survivor has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, they may suddenly start worrying about an aftershock or quake. The second type of symptom is the desire to stay away, that is, avoidance. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder do not want to go to those places because they think that the places they go or some situations will remind them of the event they experienced and therefore will cause them concern. This can become a big problem for their daily life. For example, if you have experienced an earthquake disaster, you may not want to enter high-rise buildings anymore. You may not even want to go to a one-story safehouse. As you can imagine, this can cause problems in your daily life.

The third symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder is the inability to avoid having negative thoughts about others, making it very difficult for them to think positively. They can become emotionally numb and lose interest in things they used to enjoy doing. In this case, it becomes difficult to build healthy relationships as before. The last symptom is the continuation of hyperarousal by being constantly nervous and alert. These people can be easily scared and tense at any time and often have trouble sleeping. Even if this situation is not taken into account, the state of hyperarousal can prevent one from focusing on daily needs such as sleeping and eating. Although the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder is completely patient-specific, there are usually forms of treatment that use psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Psychiatry specialist Dr. İnci emphasized that people are helped by exposure and restructuring therapies, which are forms of behavioral therapy. He noted that this is how people face the fear and use this method to manage that fear or to relive their trauma in a more controlled and safe way. He underlined that visual and written forms in the Exposure Therapy method are usually provided by the patient’s description or by a visit to the place where the event took place. He said the reconstruction method helped patients understand their bad memories. Dr. Dr. Dr. İnci stated that in this case, patients were helped to create a more positive and realistic perception of these memories. He stated that in addition to psychotherapy, drug treatments are also available in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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