Condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.
Triggered by a terrifying event-either experiencing it or witnessing it.
What Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may look like? PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types:
1. Intrusive memories
3. Negative changes in thinking and mood
4. Changes in emotional reactions
Its important to note that PTSD is not just for those who have been in combat. One of the most common types of PTSD seen in a therapists office are adults who suffered from traumatic sexual or physical abuse as children. These symptoms, even if the trauma occurred decades ago, are still present.
PTSD feels like you can't get something out of your head. Similar to a song that repeats itself over and over even though you would like to stop thinking about it. In this same way, the memory of a traumatic event is on repeat in your mind. Sometimes this is in the form of a mental image, but it can also be a sound, a feeling, or another form of memory.
The memory is often referred to as a “flashback” because it takes your mind back to the time that the event occurred. This can feel as if the sufferer is actually back at the time the trauma took place.
Sufferers of PTSD often experience symptoms that are so severe that they either do everything that they can to avoid being reminded of the trauma or expend all of their mental energy towards repressing the images, memories or feelings
These two types of responses to trauma can look different externally but are both considered forms of PTSD.
Sufferers of PTSD who avoid triggers can seem like they don't care or may seem like they have their priorities off. To those around them, it doesn't always make sense why they are avoiding situations that seem harmless.
Those with PTSD who use their mental energy towards repressing the trauma and its flashbacks, usually end up looking like they have an anger problem. Using all of their energy to repress the trauma means that any small amount of stress is more than they can handle, and they lash out at those around them.
Our minds are always making up new rules for living life – in psychology we call these rules “core beliefs”. When new events happen our minds try to use new information to help change the way we view ourselves, or the world around us.
When a major event happens to us, sometimes our minds are not able to adapt quickly enough. With PTSD, traumatic events can destroy beliefs in a very abrupt way. For example – watching a friend get killed could destroy any belief that you are safe or that you have any control over your death.
PTSD symptoms are also caused by our minds attempt to protect us from the emotional damage that the trauma has inflicted. Think of the trauma is a car accident – our minds quickly go to the site of the accident and they rope off/blockade the highway. No cars are allowed to pass through that zone and it ends up getting quarantined off. No thoughts pass through there anymore.
A flashback would be when your thoughts are reminded of the accident and pass close enough to the site of the accident that we remember it in great detail.