Most people with PTSD try to avoid any reminders or thoughts of the ordeal, many people repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, especially when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. Anniversaries of the event can also trigger symptoms. 

Re-experiencing Trauma

Re-experiencing means that the survivor continues to have the same mental, emotional, and physical experiences that occurred during or just after the trauma. This includes thinking about the trauma, seeing images of the event, feeling agitated, and having physical sensations like those that occurred during the trauma. 

To re-experience the trauma is to feel and act as if the trauma were happening again. Sufferers: feel as if they are in danger and may experience panic sensations, want to escape, become angry, or want to attack or harm someone else. Because they are anxious and physically agitated, they may have trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating. These experiences are not usually voluntary; the survivor usually can’t control them or stop them from happening. 

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Mental effects of re-experiencing trauma can include:

1- Upsetting memories such as images or other thoughts about the

           trauma. 

2- Feeling as if it the trauma is happening again (“Flashbacks”). 

3- Bad dreams and nightmares. 

4- Getting upset when reminded about the trauma (by something the

           person sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes). 

5- Anxiety or fear – feeling in danger again. 

6- Anger or aggressive feelings. 

7-Trouble controlling emotions because reminders lead to sudden

          anxiety, anger, or upset. 

8- Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly. 

Physical effects of re-experiencing trauma can include:

  • 1-Trouble falling or staying asleep. 
  • 2-Feeling agitated and constantly on the lookout for danger. 
  • 3-Getting very startled by loud noises or something or someone coming up on you from behind when you don’t expect it.   
  • 4-Feeling shaky and sweaty. 
  • 5-Having your heart pound or having trouble breathing. 

Avoidance 

Because thinking about the trauma and feeling as if you are in danger is so upsetting, people who have been through traumas want to avoid reminders of trauma. Sometimes they are aware of this and avoid trauma reminders on purpose and sometimes they do it without realizing what they are doing. 

Avoidance strategies may include:

  • 1- Actively avoiding trauma-related thoughts and memories. 
  • 2- Avoiding conversations and staying away from places, activities, or people that might remind you of trauma. 
  • 3- Trouble remembering important parts of what happened during the trauma.
  • 4- “Shutting down” emotionally or feeling emotionally numb. 
  • 5-Trouble having loving feelings or feeling any strong emotions.

        Feeling that things around you seem strange or unreal Feeling

strange or ”not yourself”

  • 6- Feeling disconnected from the world around you and things that happen to you.
  • 7- Avoiding situations that might make you have a strong emotional reaction.
  • 8- Feeling weird physical sensations. 
  • 9- Feeling physically numb. 
  • 10- Not feeling pain or other sensations. 
  • 11- Losing interest in things you used to enjoy doing.  

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