Flashbacks and Panic: Signs of Re-experiencing Trauma in PTSD

https://pixabay.com/users/Anemone123-2637160/

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From https://blackbearrehab.com/mental-health/ptsd/signs-and-symptoms-of-ptsd/

“Everyday occurrences can “trigger” memories of the traumatic event. When the brain becomes reminded of the trauma, survivors of PTSD may re-experience the event itself, as if it were occurring in the present.

Flashbacks cause the survivor to have a waking, conscious and often sensory experience of the traumatic episode, usually accompanied by visual or auditory immersions.

Intrusive thoughts can also represent the re-experiencing of trauma, as the survivor’s natural efforts to switch mental focus or block the experience fail. Another sign of re-experiencing trauma in PTSD is extreme psychological stress when triggers occur.

He or she may even experience physical sensations of re-experiencing, such as muscles freezing, profuse sweating, racing pulse or heartbeat, yelling, or running away when psychological or physical cues trigger the traumatic event.

Finally, persistent nightmares represent re-experiencing the trauma and in some cases, nightmares that cause the survivor to relive the event can be as traumatic as flashbacks.

Trauma Avoidance Signs of PTSD

Many survivors will avoid locations, people, or even topics of conversation that remind them of the traumatic event itself. Trauma avoidance signs of PTSD include an aversion to emotions, cognitions, or conversations about the traumatic experience, avoidance of places that cause reminders of the trauma and avoidance of hobbies or activities due to all of the fear surrounding the trauma.

Dissociative symptoms also can set in during the brain’s attempts at avoidance, including sensations of depersonalization (“out-of-body” experiences) and derealization (feeling detached from the world), as well as general emotional detachment and social alienation.

Many PTSD survivors also find themselves detached from positive feelings, as the brain attempts to build an emotional wall, leaving them with feelings of “emptiness” or “flat” demeanors. Many PTSD survivors will also begin to ascribe to the belief that they will not live a full life due to their near-death experiences, causing a host of lifestyle issues as they may avoid long-term planning around jobs, careers, relationships or families.”

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