Singapore

Early intervention stopped his nightmares

Hospital's early intervention helped stop trauma patient's nightmares

Plagued by nightmares, he could not sleep for a week after a bad car accident four months ago.

He would toss and turn in bed as scenes from the crash kept replaying in his mind.

He was suffering psychological symptoms after a traumatic experience.

This can happen to those who have been exposed to major trauma such as war, traffic accidents, or the sudden death of a loved one.

DISTRESS

The symptoms include insomnia, flashbacks, nightmares and feelings of distress.

The regional consultant in his 40s, who would give his name only as Mr Wong, was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday.

He said: "I was totally lost. I didn't know what was happening. There was physical pain, as well as emotional pain and uncertainty."

When Mr Wong was admitted to Changi General Hospital (CGH) after the accident, he was flagged for its early intervention programme.

CGH has screened almost 6,000 trauma patients since 2007 and it said that early intervention has helped patients like Mr Wong.

According to CGH, only one in 33 patients needed follow-up treatment for post-trauma mental health conditions after the early invention.

In comparison, studies show that globally, the average is one in 10 patients.

This shows that early intervention seemed to contribute to a reduced risk of developing post-trauma mental health disorders.

The CGH programme identified those at risk early and educated them on how to build their emotional resilience, explained Dr Angelina Chan, a senior consultant psychiatrist at CGH and the head of the unit that conducts the programme.

Mr Wong recalled how his trauma counsellor, Ms Diana Hashim, 30, helped him despite his initial reluctance.

He went through four counselling sessions, which lasted from 30 minutes to an hour each.

He said he now does not suffer from nightmares about the accident.

Said Ms Diana: "He was good-humoured throughout the sessions, but it was evident that he still experienced undercurrents of emotional and mental pain."

Many patients also have feelings of guilt after experiencing accidents, especially if they were the drivers, she said.

"It's important for them to come to terms with the accident and realise that certain things are beyond their control," she said.

I was totally lost. I didn't know what was happening. There was physical pain, as well as emotional pain and uncertainty.

- Mr Wong

UncategorisedhospitalaccidentcounsellormedicalHealthcareChangi General HospitalEARLY INTERVENTION