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Dear Doctor my Son is preparing for his 12th Board and many competitive Exams, he gets panic on exam days, and his study pattern is full day till 12pm night, but morning he wakes up late, what to do to wake up early morning in spite of late sleep, is he suffering from Anxiety or Panic attack,Depression? Please suggest
What is Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress reaction usually happens when some stressful events occur. Acute usually indicates that the symptoms occur quickly and do not last for a long time. Symptoms, such as anxiety and stress occur when exposed to stressful events. It is believed that acute stress disorder occurs after unexpected crisis like traumatic events, serious accidents, domestic violence, sexual assaults or sudden bereavement. Acute stress reactions are commonly seen in people who have experienced major disasters or terrorist incidents.
Symptoms of Acute Stress Reaction
Symptoms of the condition develop very quickly, within minutes to hours in response to a stressful condition. Some of the symptoms are:
- Anxiety, mood changes, emotional trauma (ups and downs), poor concentration and sleep, irritability and the desire to be alone
- Unpleasant recurrent dreams
- Avoiding situations and people who may cause anxiety and stress
- Emotionally numb
- Nausea, palpitations, headaches, abdominal pain, difficulty in breathing and chest pain are usually caused by the stress hormones like epinephrine.
Management of Acute Stress Disorder
Generally treatment is not required as the symptoms go when the stressful episode is over. Talking to family and friends or understanding the symptoms is helpful. Some people might experience extended symptoms. The following can be done:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is the therapy where a person can talk to an experienced therapist to understand the patterns and the triggers that charge the problem. The aim of the therapist is to change the way a person thinks and help him avoid the thoughts and be more realistic and calm. Usually when CBT is used for acute stress disorder patients then it is termed as trauma focused CBT.
Counselling: This is usually done when the symptoms are more severe or persistent. It is helpful as it helps to explore the way to deal with the stress and its symptoms. Psychiatrists help by counselling the people and also there are many online resources, which might be helpful. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Psychologist.
Sir, since last three years I feel palpitation in my left upper elbow specially while resting/sleeping where as all cardiac tests are okay, underwent anxiety treatment for three months but all in vain, no specific stress, is it tennis elbow or something else, which specialist I should consult, please suggest.
SUPERSTITIONS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
Superstitions in Psychiatry are very common especially in the ill-informed and illiterate.
1] Belief that Astrologer can diagnose mental illness by knowing the position of planets. The Belief that planets can influence earthly creatures and human beings and their future has not been proved by any of the scientific studies so far. But still belief that planets and heavenly bodies influence us is very prevalent all over the world.
2] Belief that all mental illnesses are due to possession of evil spirits and black magic and prayer are naturally the treatments for the same. Modern psychiatric approach and treatment by psychological and pharmacological methods are the only correct and scientific treatments.
3] Belief that the Allopathic medicines are HOT and should not be used for patients. All so called Allopathic drugs are modern drugs with lot of prolonged scientific research behind it. Systemic study for side effects and toxicity are done for each drug before entering the markets and patients unlike other systems where no such studies and reporting are appallingly absent!
4] Belief that small children will never get mental illness and problems. It is a grave mistake. So many problems, by heredity, by environment, by school stress, by parental discord, parental alcoholism etc,the child is subjected. By proper psychotherapy and treatment these can be alleviated scientifically.
6] Belief that hot countries, places and climate can produce mental illness. This is absolutely wrong.
7] Belief that that by hypnotism we can cure all psychiatric problems. This is also absolutely wrong. Only relatively small problems, those too temporarily are amenable for hypnotism.
8] The strong belief that all mental problems are a disgrace and never ever affect us. This stigma is very dangerous. So people will never seek proper treatment by a psychiatrist early, continue it for sufficient time, sufficient dose etc, instead they go to faith healers, GPs, physicians, neurologists where they get wrong or half cooked treatment for insufficient time. Result will naturally be disastrous.
9] All mental problems can be treated by meditation,psychotherapy etc… This is also a wrong notion.Drug therapy and combined psychotherapy is ideal.Psychotherapy alone will not cure many of the problems.
10] The belief that those who express suicidal ideas will never do that. It is fatally wrong idea. Most who express such ideas by phone ,letter,attempt,dreams etc are definitely prone candidates and all such cases are real cry for help and should be actively treated by a psychiatrist.
11] The belief that most cases of suicide are due to poverty. Absolutely wrong! More than 95% are due to psychiatric problems and should be dealt with like that only.
12] The belief that most mental illnesses are due sins committed during previous birth.There is no scientific proof for birth and rebirth.
13] The belief that most mental illnesses are incurable. When Thiruvananthapuram mental health centre was started the name was Hospital for Incurables! This notion is absolutely wrong considering the tremendous advance made by modern psychiatry. Many psychiatric problems will have effective relief and cure if treated early and effectively and rest of the cases will have good social and occupational recovery if proper modern therapy is instituted.