During times of war, people with mental health difficulties may experience a worsening of existing symptoms or the recurrence of a disorder. They may also develop new symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD), anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, dissociation, aggression, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and behaviors. These symptoms can impair their ability to cope with the situation and put their health and safety at risk.
The first step in helping those dealing with mental hardship during war is to emphasize that they are not alone and can get help – emotional and practical support. It is important for them to seek professional help from mental health services or organizations that specialize in helping those struggling. Staying around other people can also be beneficial as isolation can worsen their condition and increase feelings of loneliness. Family members, friends, and caregivers can provide emotional, practical, and financial assistance to help them cope with the situation.
Treatments that may be helpful include medication such as psychiatric drugs that can reduce distress and stabilize mood. Genetic testing may also be useful in finding the most effective medication for each individual based on their personal profile. Non-pharmacological treatments such as psychotherapy, counseling, support groups, relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, art therapy or music therapy can also be helpful in coping with the trauma and reducing stress levels. Additionally maintaining a regular routine of eating well, getting enough sleep exercise and relaxing activities while avoiding alcohol and drugs can have a positive impact on overall mental health.