What Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Does to Your Memory


Your San Diego psychiatrist Lisa Duhaylonsod, asserts that a significant percentage of people who have witnessed a traumatic experience in the past are at an increased risk of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). Feeling upset or in distress is common a few weeks after experiencing a traumatic instance. Emotional support and staying connected with your loved ones might help you deal with the event during the period. Traumatic instances like natural disasters, rape, death threats, and terrorist attacks can be challenging to forget, always prompting intrusive memories that might be uncomfortable to remember. However, not everyone develops PTSD after a traumatic event. The brain of such a victim eventually comes to terms with the past event, making it less vivid.

What happens when you have PTSD?

PTSD occurs when your brain lays down particular memories in the wrong parts of your parts. Your brain is likely to get overwhelmed during a traumatic situation, filing the memories in the immediate-action part instead of the brain’s normal memory system. As a result, the memories automatically play in your active memory, making the distressing instances appear vivid.

What are the symptoms you are likely to manifest with PTSD?

The mental condition affects every patient differently. While some patients withdraw from activities they once loved, others might have suicidal feelings. Individuals suffering from PSTD might abuse drugs or alcohol and showcase depressive symptoms. Other signs to look out for include:

  • Distress, especially with things reminding you of the trauma
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Always on guard
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Hopelessness
  • Uncontrollable intrusive memories

PTSD symptoms can significantly affect your physical and mental health, preventing you from living your everyday life. 

How can psychiatry help you manage PTSD?

Though psychiatry can offer the best treatment for PTSD, most patients might fear contacting a psychiatrist for fear of confronting the traumatic memories. However, addressing the uncomfortable events responsible for the condition will make you in charge of your emotions and thoughts. The medical professional has a wide range of treatment options, including psychotherapy and medication, to help you overcome your symptoms. While psychotherapy helps a PTSD patient learn different ways to deal with the condition’s symptoms and memories, antidepressants might help suppress grief-causing areas of your brain, preventing them from overreacting. However, time and patience throughout the consistent treatment are crucial during your recovery process. The psychological treatments you are likely to get include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

The trauma-focused treatment helps the patient deal with past experiences. During the treatment, your healthcare provider sends your brain to the day of the actual event, prompting you to recall the sensations you had in the past until the memories cause you less distress. However, the medical professional will only address the memories you can handle.

  • Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

The treatment entails making eye movements while focusing on the uncomfortable memories. EMDR allows a patient to reprocess his memories, allowing them to shift to the normal part of the brain.

The road to PTSD recovery is not easy. Overcoming the triggers is challenging and can take years. However, contacting a psychiatrist can help enhance your symptoms, teaching you ways to manage the disorder. Contact your psychiatrist to know how to deal with the mental illness. 

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