What professional help is available?

Your GP might suggest that you talk with someone who specialises in helping people cope with traumas. They will usually use a talking treatment, such as councelling or psychotherapy. For example, a talking treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be helpful. You may find that there is a support group for people who have been through a similar trauma to yourself. It can be helpful to hear that others have had similar feelings and experiences.

Can my doctor prescribe any medication to help me cope?

Medication can sometimes be helpful following a trauma, but it is still important to see your doctor regularly to check how you are doing.

There are drugs that can help to reduce the anxiety that can follow a trauma. They can also help you to get off to sleep. Common ones include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) and temazepam. In the short term tranquilisers can help you to feel less anxious and to sleep. However, if they are used for longer than a couple of weeks:

  • Your body gets used to their effect and they stop working
  • You have to take more and more to get the same effect
  • You can easily get addicted to them

You can become ill with depression following a trauma. Depression is different form normal sadness – it is worse, it affects your physical health and it goes on for longer. Depression can be treated with either antidepressant medication, or with talking treatments such as councelling or psychotherapy.