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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that comes as a reaction to having been exposed to one or more particularly traumatic events. That an event is traumatic means that it is so frightening or overwhelming that it "surpasses" the person's ability to relate to the event (s) in an integrated way. 

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Post-traumatic stress can make you feel threatened with life in everyday situations. 

This emerges from an article at forskning.no. 





 

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that comes as a reaction to having been exposed to one or more particularly traumatic events. That an event is traumatic means that it is so frightening or overwhelming that it "surpasses" the person's ability to relate to the event (s) in an integrated way. 

There are many types of events that can be traumatic.

It could be being exposed to or witnessing an accident, living in a family with violence, the death of a close friend or family member, war, flight, or prolonged bullying.





The Norwegian Psychologist Association summarizes PTSD as follows:

 

  1. You have been the victim of an incident that most people would perceive as serious and overwhelming.
  2. You experience constant intense memories or flashbacks from the event, possibly also as repeated nightmares at night.
  3. You avoid thinking about the incident as best you can. You avoid places, situations and people that may remind you of the event, isolate you socially and become emotionally flattened.
  4. You have an experience of being more squeamish, restless and tense, and you feel you have to be vigilant.

 

Re-experience most often in the form of pictures

Forskning.no writes further:

One important and somewhat mysterious common feature of the patients' re-experience of trauma is that they almost always flutter through as images, according to Anke Ehlers.

- No matter how the trauma has behaved, it is a visual image that is most often recurring. Although the person may have experienced a stabbing, it is images he sees, and not pain or the feeling of blood he experiences, she says.

Another common feature that Ehlers and colleagues have tried to explain is that these images are often of the moments that occurred just before the attack, or the most traumatic, happened. 

 

Almost anything can trigger trauma memories

Forskning.no further tells about what it is like to have PTSD:

They may experience severe fear reactions several times a day, but often they cannot even explain exactly what triggers them.

It can be almost anything - the sight of a particular color may be enough.

In the article, they mention the example of a woman who had been raped, but who did not remember the incident. Still, the sight of bricks could make her terrified. And what was the explanation for this? Forskning.no writes:

During conversations with a psychologist, it was revealed that the woman who reacted so violently to bricks had been raped in a place where there were piles of bricks.

- Even though she did not remember the rape itself, she had a strong fear response to a number of moves at the scene, Ehlers says.

 

How does it feel to have PTSD?

 

Treatment of PTSD

Since the anxiety you experience is so terrible, it is natural that people with PTSD try to avoid situations that can bring the memories to life. The only problem is that this particular avoidance is one of the most important factors that perpetuates the disorder. 

People who have this (PTSD) as part of their daily lives develop strategies to avoid what they perceive as dangerous. The problem is that these strategies only maintain the symptoms, Ehlers tells forskning.no

Another important point is to gain control over the trauma memories. Experiencing flashbacks or other invasive memories of the traumatic events that have taken place is very frightening. But there are ways to regain control. The Norwegian Psychological Association tells more about such treatment of PTSD.

They write, among other things:

Examples of such methods are Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, EMDR and Narrative Exposure Therapy. Good trauma treatment will usually also mean that the patient receives more information about trauma reactions and learns techniques for dealing with stress and symptoms. 

Source

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