The Borno Indigenes Forum Abuja (BIFA) in a statement in Abuja, signed by its Chairman Amb. (Dr). K.B Kaigama, noted that the continued hostage of the teenage girls of Government Secondary School (GSS) Chibok, by their abductors would deepen the trauma of both the parents and Nigerians.
The agony and trauma these girls are going through is better imagined than experienced. The delay in the rescue of the girls has caused serious pains, distress and anxiety to all.
The rescue of the girls does not end at their return to their respective homes. We have to understand their trauma and look for ways to repair the damages whether physical or emotional. I believe that many of them will suffer post- traumatic stress disorder.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men—but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.
PTSD can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.
PTSD develops differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.
Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:
Car or plane crashes
Sudden death of a loved one
Sexual or physical abuse
Or any shattering event that leaves you stuck and feeling helpless and hopeless
Signs & Symptoms
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms
Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms
Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
Feeling emotionally numb
Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car
3. Hyperarousal symptoms
Being easily startled
Feeling tense or “on edge”
Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Do children react differently than adults?
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults. In very young children, these symptoms can include:
Bedwetting, when they’d learned how to use the toilet before
Forgetting how or being unable to talk
Acting out the scary event during playtime
Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.
Older children and teens usually show symptoms more like those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work and where to look for help can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
PTSD can make physical health problems worse. For example, studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. By getting help for your PTSD you could also improve your physical health
Types of Treatment
Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. This involves carefully and gradually “exposing” the victim to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind them of the trauma. Therapy also involves identifying upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event—particularly thoughts that are distorted and irrational—and replacing them with a more balanced picture.
Family therapy. Family therapy can help your loved ones understand what you’re going through. It can also help everyone in the family communicate better and work through relationship problems caused by PTSD symptoms.
Medication is sometimes prescribed to people with PTSD to relieve secondary symptoms of depression or anxiety. Antidepressants are the medications most commonly used. While antidepressants may help you feel less sad, worried, or on edge, they do not treat the causes of PTSD.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation, such as hand taps or sounds. Eye movements and other bilateral forms of stimulation are thought to work by “unfreezing” the brain’s information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress.
Recovery from PTSD is a gradual, ongoing process. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, nor do the memories of the trauma ever disappear completely.