After a catastrophe, post-traumatic stress “haunts” for years-

by time news

Extreme natural events, such as intense heat waves, floods and droughts, which in turn cause forced migration and loss of contact with one’s environment,
they increase the danger of going into psychic suffering for a long time

After an event catastrophic, whether natural or induced by human beings, even those who are saved immediately will be able to bear the signs for a long time in the form of psychic disturbances. Disorders that can manifest themselves immediately, with acute stress reactions, but also after some time, with the so-called disorder post-traumatic from stress (Ptsd or Post-traumatic stress disorder, in English). Hence, with the increase in extreme natural events such as intense heat waves, floods and droughts, in turn causing migrations and loss of contact with one’s environment also increases the risk of encountering these post-traumatic psychic disorders.

I sintomi

Post-traumatic stress disorder characterized above all by the difficulty in forgetting the traumatic event, so that one remains particularly sensitive to everything that can remember. so that a little at a time, to prevent the memory from rekindling, sometimes those affected tend to change their lifestyle, because they try to avoid all those environmental stimuli that remind them of the traumatic experience. But these changes in behavior are often not sufficient to prevent images, sensations and noises experienced during the event from spontaneously recurring in the mind: they are the so-called flashback, moments in which the mind of those suffering from a PTSD reproduces the traumatic experience in an uncontrolled way, without being able to chase it away. The phenomenon can also occur while sleeping, when dreams take the form of a nightmare, often re-proposing traumatic situations and themes. The first studies on PTSD were carried out on people exposed to violence in the war field, but then psychiatrists realized that the same symptoms were detectable in people who ran into other types of extreme situations, including natural phenomena – also related to the human-induced climate change – such as floods and hurricanes. From the seventies the PTSD became part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association and therefore recognized as a specific psychic disorder, subsequently distinguished from anxiety disorders, even if anxiety, depression and abuse of psychotropic drugs or narcotic substances are almost always part of his clinical picture, together with a negative effect on general health. For example, cardiocirculatory disorders are much more frequent and have a worse trend in those who suffer from Ptsd than in those who do not. The risk of suicide and general mortality are also higher. However, not all people involved in extreme natural phenomena then develop a Ptsd. It is possible that there is a genetic predisposition underlying the disorder, characterized at the neurobiological level by an overactivity of the brain structures involved in the process of fear and the identification of threats, such as the amygdala, the anterior dorsal cingulate cerebral cortex and the insula.

The treatments

Because of this hyperactivity, some people are unable to extinguish the feeling of fear experienced during the catastrophic event and also develop a sort of preferential attention towards potentially threatening stimuli, neglecting instead the more benevolent ones. There cerebral cortex, usually able to rationally control the emergence of unmotivated fears in the present, does not seem able in these people to regulate these emotions. Prevention and treatment of PTSD today are based above all on psychotherapy which must be supportive and also use the tools offered by the cognitive-behavioral approach. Instead, the so-called technique is used less and less debriefing, based on retracing the traumatic experience early with a therapist. It should serve to reduce the trauma psychological induced by the event, and therefore to prevent the development of Ptsd, but clinical studies and reviews have not confirmed its effectiveness. In many cases it is essential to resort to pharmacological treatment, based above all on the use of second generation antidepressants such as paroxetine and sertraline, or trazodone, an antidepressant also with a sedative action. On the other hand, the use of benzodiazepines, such as diazepam and lorazepam, which have an immediate anti-anxiety effect but expose you to the risk of abuse, is contraindicated.

January 17, 2022 (change January 17, 2022 | 19:32)

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