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Suffering from stress and getting bad dreams. Should I consult a psychiatrist?

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Practicing since : 2003
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My sister attended her uncle's funeral a few days back. She had not met him since long before his death. After attending it she is not able to come out of this incident. She is trying hard to divert her mind but it is not happening. She gets bad dreams, he cries, screams some time to get rid of the pain. But nothing is helping.
We were thinking of taking a counseling from a psychiatrist. Could you please suggest if this is normal or what kind of doctors we should consult.

Posted Wed, 19 Dec 2012 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 52 minutes later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

I understand that you are concerned and worried by your sister's recent problems. From your description, it seems that she is going through a stress-related disorder. Now, my opinion is that this kind of emotional reaction is not normal for the current situation, because you say that she has not been very close to her uncle and not met him for a long time. So, her reaction seems to be out of proportion to the expevted level of distress and she is not able to come out of it. It is possible that she could have been having some underlying mild psychological problems which have got aggravated by this stressful incident.

Anyway, I think that she needs a detailed psychological assessment to plan further management. Usually, in such cases of stress-related disorders, few counselling sessions will be sufficient to control the symptoms. During the counselling, she can also be taught better stress management techniques and coping skills, so that similar problems can be avoided in the future. Sometimes, when the symptoms are severe or causing sleep disturbance and disturbance in day-to-day functioning, then mild doses of medication may be required for a short period of time.

So, I would strongly recommend that you take her to a psychiatrist for a detailed evaluation and further treatment. It's better to seek help early so as to prevent more severe problems like a major depression.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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