Many Healthcare Staffs are in Danger of Suffering from PTSD
With healthcare workers working in severe and pressing conditions, due to the high volume of COVID-19 patients worldwide, many fear those working in the medical field will develop PTSD symptoms, as a result of their environment. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder is defined by the webster dictionary as “a psychological reaction occurring after experiencing a highly stressful event, usually characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks and avoidance of reminders of the event”. This article wishes to inform HCPs, how experts group an individual’s stress levels and the different coping strategies they can use, to help ease their symptoms.
The Stress Continuum:
In order to characterize and evaluate properly the amount of stress a healthcare worker has, experts have created what is called the “stress continuum”, where there are four different zones of stress reactions. PTSD would fall under the most severe of zones, the red zone. The first zone in the spectrum, is the green zone. The green zone indicates that someone is “motivated” and “in control” and either has no stress or extraordinarily little stress in their life. The next zone is the yellow zone, this zone is where experts believe most people fall under. The yellow zone indicates that someone has stress in their life and could be “responding to multiple stressors at work or at home”. The third zone, is the orange zone, this is where an individual is starting to develop more severe symptoms as a response to stress, “typically a person will become fatigued and won’t feel as in control of their reactions”. Finally, the red zone, this zone is where individuals suffer from clinical and mental disorders, where symptoms persist and worsen, there is severe distress and functional impairment.
First and foremost, if someone finds themselves in the red zone, experts suggest that individual seek professional help, such as a psychiatrist. Professional treatment can help people rehabilitate their minds, help them form new perspectives, and reaffirm their values and priorities, ultimately making them feel better about themselves. Medical teams suffering from less severe symptoms of stress, are encourages to confine in each other, because no one will understand the daily stress and exhaustion an individual faces, quite like the people experiencing the same situations as you. Lastly there are numerous online field guides to self-care available to anyone experiencing stress disorders. The National Center for PTSD, part of the U.S. veteran affairs department, has specific COVID-19 resources for HCPs, that allow them to look after themselves and others. Another source is the “Help for Heroes” website, where existing material and educational courses have been used by veterans, to help ease their stress disorders.