Post-traumatic stress disorder affects a person’s capability to live a normal life. It is one of the psychological disorders where people suffer from severe emotional and mental trauma. Though it becomes a common thing, the condition in some instances develops another disorder after showing signs of PTSD. The disorder is what we call a phobia. Cases of phobia elevate after months of following a recollection of painful experiences.
The case of PTSD is a complex psychological reaction to extreme stress. In some unfortunate cases, a person is put into a very grave and dangerous life-threatening situation. Some of these situations might include, combat experience, natural disaster, the death of a loved one, or any form of violence and sexual abuse. As Colleen Cira, PsyD. wrote once, “Basically, any kind of scary or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to cope falls into the PTSD category.”
PTSD And Phobia
The symptoms of PTSD are far more extreme than phobia even if some signs happen to be the same. According to researchers, there are 17 specific symptoms constituted by the condition. These 17 symptoms are divided into three categories which are re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
A phobia is an uncontrollable, persistent or irrational form of fear. It is accompanied by a compelling desire to avoid a specific object or situation that might trigger the fear itself. As far as the mental condition is concerned, a phobia is no different than PTSD. That’s because both PTSD and phobia involve the same neural pathways that create an impact on the brain. However, in some scenarios, PTSD can become worse and more troublesome than the latter.
Phobia And Memories
There are two types of bad memories. The first type is the one that goes away after a month or a year. It is a narrative memory about a tragic incident that can easily get recalled. Some examples of these are car accident, fire, death of a family member or some things that are no longer intrusive after time. The other type of bad memory is a traumatic memory. This type of retention does not merely go away. As time goes by, it becomes even worse. These kinds of memories are connected to life-threatening events that imprint a survival template in the brain. If not treated with proper medical care or therapy, it may continue to fire off strong emotional and psychological problem that leads to dangerous situations.
Traumatic experiences link both PTSD and phobia. Therefore, there’s a necessary treatment that needs to get done. The most reliable way of treating these disorders is through the rewind technique. This method uses a refinement or guided imagery technique that allows the brain to revisit traumatic events in a remarkably calm way. Through this technique, the amygdala can reinterpret the memory as a non-threatening event. The process helps the brain to visualize the incident without exhibiting negative behavior such as panicking, anxiousness, and agitation.
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, has a great suggestion: “Write a letter,” she says, “Dear Anxiety, I am no longer intimidated by you. What can you teach me?”
Both PTSD and phobia are products of traumatizing events. Though both of these can end up in a severe condition, treatments are still available. The proper medication, techniques, and therapies exist to correct these mental conditions.
“At the end of the day, the simple act of talking about/thinking about our problems, or simply seeking out help, can be the best decision we can make for our health.” – Joaquin Selva, Psychologist.