At some point of our lives, we all have to go through a difficult situation. We cope with it in different ways and we manage, somehow, to move one without it affecting us. But is this always the case? Of course not. Some people are affected by a traumatic event more than we believe, and they have to struggle to get back on track for months after the event.
People develop Acute Stress Disorder or ASD after they observe or take part in a traumatic, usually life threatening, event. Although most people expect ASD to occur right after the event, in reality a person starts to show the first symptoms a few weeks, maybe a month afterwards. It is not uncommon to see that people who were in danger today are completely fine tomorrow, but this is only because they have not had time to understand properly what has happened and how it has affected them. ASD is not only triggered by dangerous events, but also by the death of someone close or a death threat. Between 7% and 33% of the people who are involved in a traumatic event develop a form of ASD.
The symptoms of ASD are not easily recognizable in the beginning, especially if the patient is not open with those around them. They will feel emotionally detached of everything around them and it is not uncommon for them to discuss freely the traumatic event, almost like it did not affect them at all. A big percent of those with ASD develop dissociative amnesia, meaning that they do not remember details or even the traumatic event in itself. At the same time, they can reexperience the event through illusions, nightmares or even day time dreaming. Anxiety is very common for people with ASD, and many of them become irritable, they stop going outside and they refuse to talk about what they feel and how they can solve the problem.
Considering all this, it is easy to understand why many people who develop ASD go undiagnosed for quite some time. Very often their family thinks that they are just passing through a rough time, when they are actually in danger of destroying their personal and professional life. They tend to become unaware of what they should do in social situations and they neglect their job. In extreme cases they may consider suicide or hurting themselves, therefore this disorder should be taken seriously by the ones around them.
The help of a qualified therapist is almost always necessary and sometime medication is offered. Unfortunately many medications come with unwanted side effects so for those that wish to avoid medications and side effects there are many excellent natural alternatives. It is important for the family to get informed about the symptoms of ASD and what should they do if their loved one does not seem to get any better.
Regarding the lifestyle of persons with ASD, they need to be surrounded by people who understand their difficulties. Often people with ASD refuse to talk about the event that triggered the condition, and if forced to do so the condition could worsen, therefore the family needs to respect their wishes. At the same time, they should not feel that they are being supervised all the time, because this might make them refuse to talk about their feelings, delaying the results of the therapy.
More often than not, people with ASD develop an eating problem at the same time with the disorder. Some of them eat too much because this brings them comfort and take away the anxiety in one way or another. However, others refuse eating or eat only certain types of food, and this can delay their healing. When your body does not get enough nutrients you automatically feel tired all the time, depressed, anxious and without strength to carry on with your daily life. In combination with ASD, this can have serious repercussions. That’s why it is vital for the family to encourage the patient to eat healthy meals, full of vitamins and minerals that will keep their body strong and the mind open.
To protect the immunity one should have a sufficient intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. They are available in liquid form or in capsules. They can be found in some types of fish, fish oil, nuts and peanuts and a number of fruits and vegetables.
L-theanine is known for its calming effect, so taking supplements daily can help a person deal with anxiety or panic attacks and it can help speed up the healing process.
Daily vitamins are a must for anyone, and if the patient is not eating enough fruits and vegetables they should take antioxidant vitamins such as A,C,D, E as well as a combination of minerals, especially calcium and zinc.
One thing that is common in patients with ASD is that they feel that no one can understand what they feel. They are very confused regarding the traumatic event that occurred and they don’t feel the need to share what they think about it. Although talking to a therapist is necessary, putting the patient in contact with someone else who had ASD before is another excellent thing to do. They will discover that the feelings that they have are only temporary and if they continue with the treatment they will get back to feeling like their old self.
The therapist and the family need to take into consideration the fact that the sufferer might have troubles sleeping, and creating a strict sleeping program might not be enough. Aromatherapy, meditation or Yoga before sleeping might help the person get some rest and avoid the nightmares that are so common in people with ASD.
With adequate treatment and therapy, as well as support from the family, a person can heal ASD in just a few weeks, and they can prevent the ASD from becoming PTSD. It is necessary to understand and accept that we all deal with difficult moments in different ways, but we all have the chance to enjoy our lives no matter what.