Bushfire Emergency-Reminders

The current bushfire emergency may be a reminder for those who have been through a traumatic event. For some survivors this can mean an increase in stress and reactions ranging from feeling mildly upset for a day or two to more extreme reactions with more severe symptoms. This can be a time when clinicians should examine symptoms. PTSD should be considered if a survivor reports the following.

• Feeling like they are going through the event again, as if they are back in the past
• Avoiding people, places, and things related to the trauma
• Expressing more negative beliefs and feelings – like guilt or shame
• Are more alert, nervous, or on edge.

The nature of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is important to consider. Post is an important term. The effects of trauma can play out many years down the track.

If symptoms are mild and don’t meet criteria, there are several ways of coping that can be suggested, these include:
• Connecting to friends and family
• Planning relaxing and enjoyable activities

Trauma-focused treatments such as Cognitive Processing (CPT) Therapy can provide a long-term solution to the PTSD symptoms. There is research that shows that CPT can assist with subclinical presentations as well as those meeting full criteria for PTSD.