Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Trauma
Since the first World War, psychologists and psychiatrists have been trying to treat trauma in a myriad of frightening ways:
- having sufferers relive the trauma again and again, this can make the symptoms worse not better.
- Using critical incident stress debriefing as a standard practise for helping emergency services deal with traumatic experiences in the line of duty
- Inducing diabetic comas via insulin injection. Prescribing anti-anxiety drugs anti-depression for years with no improvements.
Finally, using cognitive therapy to treat trauma is nigh-on impossible – that’s like trying to tether a raging bull with sewing thread.
What exactly is happening when someone has a traumatic flashback?
When somebody joins the armed forces they are trained and conditioned to work in a combat situation which may result in traumatic experiences of death and carnage on an unprecedented scale. To bring somebody back from this sort of situation and expecting them to fit in with every day society and live a "normal life" without the correct support is a dereliction of care, effecting not only the individual but also their family and friends.
Flash backs: a soldier who has been in a war zone is walking down the street and a car backfires. Instantly he feels as if he’s back in the front line and reacts as if a bomb has just gone off near
But he knows he’s on a normal street, so what is going on? It’s as if he never took off his combats. His brain has ‘pattern matched’ the backfire to being similar to the sound of gunfire or explosions and triggered the ‘fight or flight’ response in him. He is flooded with adrenaline and his overwhelming instinct is to run.
In his brain there is what we call a ‘global pattern’ for loud bangs, created by the focusing effect of the terror he experienced in battle. This is very different to the pattern you and I have for it, which will make us jump but once our brain figures out what caused the bang, it steps down the alert procedure.
However, this global pattern in the ex-soldier’s brain has no context to it (in other words, it doesn’t matter where he is when the sound occurs, or what else is going on around him). His brain has decided that this sound is so closely linked to potential death that it warrants being a global pattern that goes off at the slightest provocation.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) also affects many other people, for example, trauma through childhood abuse, attacks, child birth: any event which previously was so strong the brain has not processed the event correctly and is causing issues later in life.
Hypnosis is proven to help with this.