[이데일리 이순용 기자] Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur when a person experiences unbearable pain or a safety threat, such as an earthquake, burn, or sexual assault. Even after the event, frightening memories are not forgotten, nightmares are endured, and symptoms of switching between highly sensitive and lethargic states persist for more than a month. It is known to occur in around 1 in 10 people who have a major accident.
Usually, after the event, it is not stable and the stress continues and develops into PTSD. However, it seemed quiet immediately after the event, but there is also ‘delayed PTSD’, where symptoms appear after 6 months, so be careful.
PTSD is divided into acute, chronic, and delayed depending on the time of onset. If the symptoms persist for 3 months after the event, it is considered acute, and if it does not improve after that, it is considered chronic. Delayed symptoms appear fine immediately after the event, but the symptoms appear seriously after 6 months. It may not occur alone, but may appear in combination, such as remission after acute remission, delayed onset, remission, and recurrence.
Symptoms of acute, chronic and delayed PTSD are not significantly different. ▲Re-experiencing thoughts, feelings and sensations at the time of the accident ▲Extremely sensitive state due to re-experiencing ▲ Avoiding elements that could remind you of the accident to avoid re-experiencing ▲Continuation of negative moods such as depression and victim awareness.
Lee Byeong-cheol, professor of psychiatry at Hallym Daehan Kangseongsim Hospital, said, “However, any kind of symptoms tend to be severe and prolonged, so they need to be detected and treated early in order to reduce sequelae.”
In the case of delayed PTSD, it is not easy to cope with acute or chronic PTSD because it is not known when and how it will appear. If it is not detected early, everyday life becomes difficult, like constantly feeling the danger caused by the event and falling into lethargy. Professor Lee Byeong-cheol said, “Families and other people around you should pay constant attention.” “Even if the patient seems calm right after the event, it is good to constantly observe the psychological and emotional state around him and check for PTSD symptoms.”
It is known that PTSD increases the likelihood of developing PTSD if there is a missing body part of the individual or a close person due to trauma such as a burn. Previous experience is also important. The level of stress experienced, childhood pain, and past experiences of disasters or other accidents affect the onset and symptoms of PTSD.
It is also important to receive psychological emergency treatment early in order to prevent. The intention is to move to a safe place within 72 hours immediately after an event such as a burn, gain a sense of stability through counselling, and receive a psychological evaluation.
Treatment of delayed PTSD is similar to acute and chronic, but requires detailed and tailored treatment depending on the symptoms. Psychotherapy such as drug treatment, stabilization therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is usually performed. In the acute phase of severe symptoms, re-experiencing or highly sensitive conditions are managed with medication. When the person has stabilized to some extent and can deal with the memory of the accident, psychotherapy is needed to make the person who experienced the accident feel safe.