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POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: HOW TO DEAL WITH IT – Psychiatrist

The Medical Director and Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Pinnacle Medical Services, Lagos, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, says with the killings that attended the #ENDSARS protests, survivors and people affected by the incident may suffer from one emotional issue or the other.

Kadiri said some might be at risk of mental breakdown if they have a family history of mental issues, among other risk factors.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Kadiri said the immediate effect of the protests after things turned bloody is poor sleep or lack of sleep.

“This is very common among people that have experienced a traumatic event and if not properly managed, it can lead to insomnia or other psychological problems.”

“People may also develop poor appetite, which is more likely among those who witnessed people die right in front of them during the protest, with the possibility of the bloodshed and other gory pictures imprinted in their minds.”

“People may have a general sense of unwell, with symptoms such as stomach ache, headache, body ache, and the feeling that they are falling sick.”

“There will also be features ofpanic attack such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, hyperventilation and dizziness,” she noted.

According to her, the short-term effects of the protest will be anxiety disorder, depression, abuse of alcohol and other substances.

“Anxiety is a normal emotion, but when it becomes more intense, it can affect the individual’s activities of daily living with symptoms such as excessive worry, feeling agitated, restlessness, sleep issues, fatigue, poor concentration and irrational fear, among others.”

“Depression is also one of the short term-effects that can occur with symptoms such as low mood, sadness, low energy, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, poor sleep and poor appetite, among others.”

“Abuse of alcohol and other substances usually occurs when traumatised people try to medicate themselves when going through pain. It could be survivors, their relatives, or families of those that have lost someone,” she said.

Kadiri added that the long-term effect is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which usually occurs three, six months or more after a traumatic event.

She said the symptoms to watch out for are nightmares, recurrent unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event, reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks), trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event, sleep issues, mood swings.

Highlighting the way forward, the psychiatrist recommends various strategies such as “deep diaphragmatic breathing, 4-7-8 technique, grounding exercise, and group psychological debriefing” for survivors.

@ Punch Newspaper

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