How to live after mental trauma?

Man has learned to adapt to different circumstances; with the change in our life, we ourselves change. The changes taking place in us help us survive, no matter what conditions we find ourselves in. However, some events, especially those that stretch over time, can cause a serious mental disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When we speak of post-traumatic stress disorder, we mean that a person has experienced one or more traumatic events that deeply affected his psyche. These events are so drastically different from all previous experiences or caused so much suffering that the person responded to them with a violent negative reaction. The normal psyche in such a situation naturally tends to alleviate the discomfort: a person who has experienced such a reaction radically changes his attitude towards the world around him in order to live at least a little easier.

If the trauma was relatively small, then the increased anxiety and other symptoms of the syndrome will gradually disappear over several hours, days or weeks. If the trauma was severe or the traumatic events were repeated many times, the painful reaction can persist for many years.

The other side of the post-traumatic syndrome refers to the inner world of the personality and is associated with the person’s reaction to the experienced events. We all react in different ways: a tragic accident can cause severe trauma to one and almost not affect the psyche of another. It is also very important at what moment the event occurs: the same person at different times can react in different ways.

At the same time, a person strives to think, feel and act in a way that avoids difficult memories. Just as we acquire immunity to a certain disease, our psyche develops a special mechanism to protect ourselves from painful experiences. When this does not happen and a person fails, for one reason or another, to find a way to discharge internal tension, his body and psyche find a way to somehow apply to this tension. This, in principle, is the mechanism of the post-traumatic syndrome, the symptoms of which in the complex look like a mental disorder, although in fact they are just a deep-rooted way of behavior associated with extreme events in the past.

With PTS, the following clinical symptoms are observed:

Unmotivated vigilance.
A person closely monitors everything that happens around him, as if he is constantly in danger.
Explosive reaction. At the slightest surprise, a person makes rapid movements (throws himself to the ground at the sound of a low-flying helicopter, turns sharply and takes a fighting pose when someone approaches him from behind)
Dullness of emotions. It happens that a person has completely or partially lost the ability to emotional manifestations. It is difficult for him to establish close and friendly ties with others; joy, love, creativity, playfulness and spontaneity are inaccessible to him
. Aggressiveness. Seeking to solve problems with brute force. Although, as a rule, this concerns physical force, sometimes there is mental, emotional and verbal aggressiveness. Simply put, a person tends to apply forceful pressure on others whenever he wants to achieve his goal, even if the goal is not vital.
Memory and concentration disorders.
The person experiences difficulties when it is required to concentrate or something to remember
Depression. In a state of post-traumatic stress disorder, it seems to a person that everything is meaningless and useless. This feeling is accompanied by nervous exhaustion, apathy and a negative attitude towards life.
General anxiety. It manifests itself at the physiological level (back aches, stomach cramps, headaches), in the mental sphere (constant anxiety and concern, “paranoid” phenomena, for example, an unreasonable fear of persecution), in emotional experiences (constant feeling of fear, self-doubt, guilt complex )
Attacks of rage. Such attacks are more likely to occur under the influence of drugs, especially alcohol, but they also happen on their own.
Tendency to abuse drugs and drugs
Unsolicited memories. Perhaps this is the most important symptom that gives the right to speak about the presence of PTS. Eerie, ugly scenes associated with the traumatic event suddenly pop up in the patient’s memory. These memories can occur both during sleep
and while awake. In reality, they appear in those cases when the environment is somewhat reminiscent of what happened at that time, i.e. during a traumatic event: a smell, a sight, a sound, as if coming from that time. Vivid images of the past fall on the psyche and cause a strong syndrome.

Unsolicited memories that come in a dream are called nightmares. Dreams of this kind are, as a rule, of two types: the first, with the accuracy of video recording, convey the traumatic event as it was imprinted in the memory of the person who survived it; in dreams of the second type, the setting and characters may be completely different, but at least some of the elements (face, situation, sensation) are similar to those that took place in the traumatic event. A person awakens from such a dream completely overwhelmed; his muscles are tense, he is drenched in sweat. In the medical literature, night sweats are sometimes viewed as a symptom in their own right, on the grounds that many patients wake up drenched in sweat but do not remember what they dreamed about.

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