As first responders firefighters put themselves in dangerous situations in order to save others. This risk can lead to physical injuries, as well as mental harm, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There have been significant advancements in the field of PTSD care. Each case of PTSD is unique, and treatment should be tailored to the individual.
After Action Review (AAR)
This was adapted from the military and it simply involves talking about what happened. It can be an informal discussion or a more structured meeting. The goal is to achieve perspective and learn from what happened.
The goal of cognitive therapy is to understand the thoughts that trigger stress and PTSD symptoms. By identifying these thoughts it is possible to replace them with thoughts that are less distressing and will not cause the same outcome.
In exposure therapy the objective is to continue to talk to a therapist about the trauma and related feelings repeatedly. Given time the feelings and symptoms will be less overwhelming and coping will be easier.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR)
While undergoing EDMR the patient will focus on another form of stimuli while discussing his or her trauma. From hand taps, sounds and eye movements generated by the therapist the plan is to focus only on following this movement.
Talking with people who have had similar experiences creates a sense of understanding and can make people feel more comfortable. Group therapy can also build trust, and makes it easier to focus on the here and now instead the trauma of the past.
Often it can be difficult for family members to understand the symptoms of PTSD. This is all the more unfortunate because family members are so close to the person suffering from this illness. Family therapy strives to help all members of a family learn about PTSD, symptoms and treatment.
In some instances medication may be the best treatment option. Medication can help ease stress and worry. Relaxing the symptoms of PTSD through medication may help therapy treatment options be more effective. It is always best to talk to a doctor about the types of medications that are available, as well as any side effects.
Finding the Right Treatment Option
Everyone handles trauma differently, so treatment that works for one person may not work for another. In some cases a variety of treatment options may be used in conjunction to provide the best care.