Trauma and Survival

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as defined in the DSM-V, is characterized by 5 symptoms. The last four must last longer than a month and cause significant distress:

  1. Exposure to trauma: death or threat of death or injury.
  2. Intrusive symptoms: memories, flashbacks, psychological distress, physical distress.
  3. Avoidance: trying not to think about the trauma, avoiding places that remind you of it.
  4. Negative alterations in thought and mood: amnesia, negative beliefs, distorted cognitions, lack of interest, detachment, estrangement from others, inability to experience positive emotions.
  5. Arousal: Irritability, angry outbursts, reckless behavior, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle, difficulty concentrating, insomnia.

At root, PTSD is a survival mechanism, a battlefield mentality, intended to keep us safe. It’s the body’s way of saying, “Never again will I be abused, attacked or in danger.” It becomes a problem when the alarm system goes off in the absence of real danger. It becomes a problem when individuals attempt to suppress “dangerous” thoughts and emotions. Alcohol, hypervigilance, and checking will not make one safer, but they do temporarily silence the alarm. And they all amount to experiential avoidance. An earlier article on this site, Core Beliefs and Assumptions in PTSD

Read more here:

https://beckinstitute.org/ptsd-survival-mechanism/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s