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Symptoms of PTSD and Flashbacks



What is a ptsd related flashback?


"Some individuals with PTSD repeatedly "relive" the trauma in the form of nightmares, disturbing memories, experience "flashbacks," or intrusive images of the traumatic event. Regular everyday events may trigger the flashback. The "flashback" may come in the form of images, sounds, smells, or feelings. The person experiencing a flashback may lose touch with reality for brief or longer periods of time (dissociation). The person may experience dissociation that lasts from a few seconds to several hours, or even days, during which the components of the event are relived and the person may believe the traumatic event is happening all over again."

What is a flashback like?


"that 'memories' of the trauma tend to, at least initially, be predominantly experienced as fragments of the sensory components of the e vent: as visual images, olfactory, auditory, or kinesthetic sensations, or intense waves of feelings (which patients usually claim to be representations of elements of the original traumatic event). What is intriguing is that patients consistently claim that their perceptions are exact representations of sensations at the time of the trauma."

How memories work:


"researchers have proved that visual memories are re-created in the brain as mental pictures. Stored images are played, like videotapes, on a screenlike sheet of tissue at the back of the head."


Traumatic Memories Recalled Differently by PTSD Sufferers


"The study, “The Nature of Traumatic Memories: A 4-T fMRI Functional Connectivity Analysis,” led by Ruth Lanius, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Western Ontario, Canada and an affiliate of the Robart's Research Institute, found that in people with PTSD, traumatic memories are associated with regions in the brain's right hemisphere, compared to the left in traumatized people without the disorder. The right hemisphere influences nonverbal memory recall, and the left influences a verbal pattern of memory recall.
These differences explain why PTSD sufferers experience traumatic memories as flashbacks, and traumatized people without PTSD recall traumatic events as ordinary autobiographical memories. Ordinary autobiographical memories are usually recalled as personal narratives whereas flashbacks, unlike verbal narratives, are experienced as fragments of sensory stimuli, such as visual images, sounds or physical sensations."


"Recalling traumatic events as flashbacks differs from recalling them as ordinary autobiographical
memories: compared with ordinary memories, which can change by repeated recall, flashbacks are
experienced as though the event was happening all over again. In the study, people with PTSD reported
flashbacks as feeling like "I was back at the scene of the accident" or "It felt like I was back in the past."
Flashbacks can be triggered by internal or external events, often occur spontaneously, and usually
cannot be controlled."

Related links: PTSD, Memory and ptsd, Panic attacks, Body memories, Dyslexia and PTSD, Health/medical, Therapy/Art therapy for rape victims, Coping skills for panic attacks


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