A study by Lanius et al. was conducted to cast light upon why many with individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including those suffering from complex-PTSD, often find it excruciatingly uncomfortable every time the rules of social etiquette compel them to make eye to eye contact with another human being (I, myself once attempted to circumvent this
What Is Meant By Hypervigilance?
A person who is hypervigilant feels constantly ‘on edge’ , ‘keyed up’ and fearful. S/he experiences a perpetual sense of dread and of being under threat despite the fact, objectively speaking, there is no present danger. Indeed, the person affected in this way is so intensely alert to, and focused upon, any conceivable imminent danger that s/he may develop paranoia-like symptoms and frequently perceive danger in situations where no such danger, in reality, exists.
What Factors Make The Symptoms Of Complex PTSD Even More Serious?
Anybody who has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) / complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) knows that the mental torment and anguish it entails can be extreme and unremitting.
Frustratingly (putting it mildly), such pain is impossible to describe in words to those who have been fortunate enough never to have experienced such conditions much in the same way as it would not be possible to describe to a person who has been blind from birth what it’s like to experience the color red (or any other color, for that matter).
It may well be useful, therefore, to outline the findings of the following study which helps to demonstrate how desperate sufferers of PTSD may become to be free from their ineffable suffering.
THE STUDY :
Zoellner and Feeny (2011) carried out interviews with 184 individuals who had been diagnosed with PTSD.
Two main findings that help convey just how desperate people can be to be free from the constant distress PTSD can induce were as follows :
- On average, participants in the study said they would be prepared to undergo a treatment that would completely cure their PTSD even if such a treatment carried 13 per cent risk of resulting in their immediate death.
- On average, participants said they would be prepared to give up 13.6 years of their lives to be relieved of their PTSD symptoms.
Through the interviews conducted in the
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first incorporated into the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – DSM III – (sometimes informally referred to as the psyciatrists’ bible) in 1980.
Although, without appropriate and effective therapy, PTSD can devastate lives (including, of course, variants of PTSD resulting from severe childhood trauma), as the disorder has become increasingly studied by clinicians it has also become more and more apparent that some individuals affected by the disorder not only overcome their suffering, but, also, report positive changes to their lives that have derived from working through the effects of their traumatic
The DSM 4 (Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Illness, 4th Edition) lists one of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a ‘sense of a foreshortened future.‘ It is this specific symptom that I wish to concentrate upon in this article.
The psychologists Ratcliffe et al. (2014) suggested, based on their research, that this involved several elements of altered feelings, perceptions and beliefs, some of which I consider (although not exclusively) below.
NEGATIVE VIEW OF THE FUTURE :
If we have grown up in a chronically stressful and traumatic environment in which we often experienced anxiety, trepidation, stress and fear we are at high risk of developing a fundamental, core belief (on a conscious and/or unconscious level) that the world is a dangerous place and that we need to be constantly on ‘red-alert’ and ‘on-guard’ in order to protect ourselves from sustaining further psychological injury.
In other words, we GENERALIZE our
There also now exists evidence (e.g. van der Kolk, 2014, see below)) that it can help to reduce symptoms of Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (Complex PTSD).
Complex PTSD Gives Rise To Both Psychological And Physical Symptoms :
We have already seen how the cumulative effects of exposure to ongoing and
Because there is a considerable overlap in symptoms between those suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) and those suffering from complex posttraumatic disorder (complex PTSD) , those with the latter condition can be misdiagnosed as suffering from the former condition (you can read my article about this by clicking here).
In order to help clarify the differences between the two conditions and help show how they are distinct from one another,
If the trauma we experienced as children was severe enough, we may, as adults, at one time or another, require residential psychiatric care (such as inpatient treatment on a psychiatric ward in a hospital, as was necessary in my own case on several occasions).
Obviously, the quality of the care we receive in psychiatric facilities can vary very considerably ; unfortunately, this means that, if we are unlucky, we may find ourselves in an environment that not only fails to be therapeutic,
TRAUMA TRIGGERS are events/occurrences that remind us (on either a conscious or unconscious level) of our original traumatic experiences causing us to feel extreme distress similar to that felt at the time of that original trauma.
We are particularly likely to be affected by triggers at times of acute stress.
Some examples of trauma triggers include :
– SOUNDS :
For example, a voice that sounds similar to the voice of a parent who frequently threatened us, as children, with extreme physical
Many individuals who seek treatment and therapy for problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, clinical depression, severe anxiety, anger management issues and eating disorders (or a combination of such problems) often have an underlying problem: they have experienced severe and protracted childhood trauma.
In other words, it is their experience of trauma that has significantly contributed to the existence of such problem as those mentioned above.
Such people are increasingly being said by
Unfortunately, as well as psychological effects, if we have developed complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) as a result of our childhood experiences (click here to read my article on the difference between PTSD and CPTSD), the condition can also give rise to adverse physical effects (i.e. bodily/somatic effects).
The main reason for this is that, as sufferers of CPTSD, we tend to be chronically locked into a state of distressing hyper-arousal (which psychologists often refer to as
There has been some controversy regarding the difference between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD amongst researchers.
During the early 1990s, the psychologist Judith Herman noted that individuals who had suffered severe, long-lasting, interpersonal trauma, ESPECIALLY IN EARLY LIFE, were frequently suffering from symptoms such as the following:
– disturbance in their view of themselves
– a marked propensity to seek out experiences and relationships which
Stress can be defined as the perception that the psychological demands being made upon us exceed our ability to cope with them. It has been well documented that the experience of stress (especially chronic stress) is linked to both physical and psychological disorders.