Things people need to know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
- It’s not a disease that Soldiers have, others who have been through traumatic events can also have it.
- It can cause Night Terrors and Somniphobia. This is not a case of Insomnia and Nightmares. Night Terrors are generally memories or phobias that are making their way into the sufferers mind when their eyes are closed – they don’t only happen when the sufferer is asleep, flashbacks can happen during the day, too. Somniphobia isn’t insomnia – insomnia is the inability to fall asleep naturally; whereas Somniphobia is the fear of falling asleep, which causes the sufferer to keep themselves awake for as long as possible before passing out.
- No matter what triggered the sufferers PTSD in the first place: loud noises, shouting, certain words, and other things may trigger a flashback or panic attack.
Now, somethings you can do to help someone with PTSD, these are the things that generally work for me – and could work for others:
- When having a panic attack, try and minimize the initial trigger – if someone is shouting in the room or house/building, ask them to stop. Or, if it was just a single loud bang lead by silence, get your phone or radio and make white noise come out – this can be radio static or white noise used to make a certain rhythm, as long as it’s constant, it will help calm them down (my favourite is the video above of Rain). It’s easier to adjust to a place with many loud noises than a place with none with some.
- If they’re having a panic attack, find a corner for them to sit in – this can be a corner of a room, or just a corner against the wall and a piece of furniture. This will help them gather their surroundings and make them feel somewhat safer as they can see their surroundings.
- If they’re stood up, get them to sit down, whether it being on a chair or on the floor, either will work fine. Personally, I find the floor more comforting and easier to breath.
- If they’re holding their ears, a good idea is to tell them to put a pair of earphones in and play them their favourite song as a distraction.
- During a Night Terror, if they wake up screaming, don’t shake them and don’t burst into their room. By entering the room abruptly, it can shock them further and cause a more severe panic attack, which could lead to the inability to go back to sleep – whether its midnight or 5am.
- After the Night Terror is over, give them a drink – water being the best option, and wait with them until the panic attack is completely over. To figure out whether or not the panic attack is over completely, it is a good idea to check their pulse – if the pulse is very fast, it can indicate that they are still panicking, leaving at that moment could cause it to get worse. However, if the pulse is fast but is slowing down, give it another two or so minutes and it should be back at it’s resting point.
And that’s that, if you have any ways you calm yourself or others down when having a panic attack (PTSD induced or not), comment them below, it could help someone else in the community.