Keeping your clients safe at all times is so important, ff your client suffers an abreaction it may re-traumatise them and make the problem worse and could even kill them! To avoid this you must at all times give them either physical or psychological distance and disassociate them from the event.
* Physical distance from objects
(spiders, mice, telephones, etc.);
* From locations (lifts, precipices, motorways, etc.);
* From substances (allergens, phobic responses).
* Psychological distance from objects and locations by using pictures, videos.
Also you can avoid an abreaction by having the client imagine the trigger or by having the client imagine watching someone else approaching the trigger or by using a key word, number or symbol to code the trigger. Very useful if the client needs to hide the identity of a trigger for legal or safety reasons.
If you do have a client who has an abreaction it is important to remain calm. You will also need to break the client’s state. By this I mean distract them or get them to walk around the room and encourage them to even out and slow down their breathing to a normal rate. Make a note about the trigger and work on it later.
If the client is taking medication, remember that these drugs need to be tapered off slowly, under the care of their doctor. Ask them to talk with their doctor about how to stop the medication they are taking.
The drugs that are used for treating depression are called antidepressants and have been found to help with anxiety disorders as well. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used, along with the newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other medicines include anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines and beta-blockers.
In a person who is not nervously ill, an exam, or even an exciting social event may produce butterflies in the stomach, sweating hands, constriction in the chest, or a rise in the heart rate, etc.- all the feelings of raised adrenaline levels.
A panic attack is an exaggeration of this and the cause is an exhausted nervous system. Most of the symptoms are part of the flight or fight response, something we would not survive for long without. This primitive response is still needed today to make sure we jump out of the way of that oncoming bus or skateboard!
Panic attacks can cause a great deal of distress with intense feelings of anxiety. The sufferer is suddenly overwhelmed by fear and often feels that death is not too far away. Reactions can vary from client to client, some feel unable to speak whilst others may shout out for help. Attacks will normally only last for a few minutes, but to the client it may seem much longer.
Some clients may have a fear of going mad. Other unpleasant feelings include: Palpitations, dizziness, hot and cold flushes, pins and needles, nausea, shaking, choking sensations, feelings of unreality, and the client may also have an urgent need to relieve themselves.
One of the major causes of panic attacks (according to the British Medical Journal) is simply not breathing correctly, so since one of the causes of a client’s symptoms is a lack of carbon dioxide, we must make an effort to retain as much of it as possible.
We do this by asking the client to let out their breath in as large a sigh as possible and then ask them to cup their hands around their nose and mouth until they feel better. Make sure that they do not hold their breath.
Cold cloths, ice packs or cold water may also be effective when splashed or placed on the face and also you may place a paper bag over the nose and mouth, keeping the breathing normal as it slows down.
Never use a plastic bag.
After an attack your client should eat or drink something sweet as soon as possible and then later a meal and take some rest.
From the Heart
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