Post Traumatic Stress
We all accept that post-traumatic stress can develop as a consequence of being on the battlefield and witnessing the horrors of war.
But what we find more difficult to accept, is that traumatic events such as suffering sexual abuse as a child, losing a loved one to a violent attack or being witness to a horrific accident, can also cause individuals to develop this serious condition.
Post-traumatic stress affects a great deal many more people than we realise and can lead to serious psychological and physical symptoms if it’s not addressed.
During an evidence session before the parliament’s health committee last week, we heard from a mother whose son was killed as a result of a violent attack. She said that she became so distressed about what happened that she couldn’t eat or sleep and had recurring nightmares about the night her son was murdered.
People who have experienced traumatic events such as these often find it difficult to speak about them.
We heard that in order to create an environment where people can share their serious worries and where post-traumatic stress can be more readily detected, the following needs to happen.
We need better training for GP’s so they can spot the symptoms.
We need to raise public awareness of the issue so that society is more alert to an individual’s suffering.
And most of importantly of all, we shouldn’t simply ask what’s wrong with the individual who seeks help; we should ask what has happened to them.
Only by getting to the route of what happened can we begin to help people overcome the traumatic life experiences that they have sadly had to endure.