Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious psychiatric condition triggered by exceptionally stressful events like terrorist attacks or natural disasters. Immediate signs can include:
- Aggressive demeanour
- Suicidal tendencies
- Confused behaviour
- Fear and worry
This is best treated with what the WHO calls ‘psychological first aid’. The typical process: listen, show compassion, assess and ensure basic physical needs are met, don’t force victims to talk, provide company (ideally from family or significant others), encourage social support without forcing it, protect from more harm.
However the long-term effects can be more devastating, with signs like:
- Clinical depression
- Alcoholism and substance abuse
- Reduced effectiveness at work
- Difficulty with relationships
- Feelings of guilt and fear
Though supportive counselling and community-based self-help groups can help, sufferers often need more help, including professional psychiatric care and sustained treatment.