21 Apr

Expert Guide: How to Handle and Prevent PTSD Blackouts Effectively Integrative Trauma & Somatic Therapy Training

Many people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience blackouts, among other symptoms. These blackouts may include flashbacks to a previous time in the person’s life, or they may involve a dissociation from reality. While these experiences may be scary in the moment, you can control and even prevent them with the right treatment plan. In this guide, we will discuss how to handle ptsd blackouts and regain control of your mind and body. Our first study involved 9 patients with sexual abuse– or motor vehicle accident–related PTSD and 9 controls who had a history of sexual abuse or motor vehicle accidents but in whom PTSD never developed.

Emotional freedom technique (EFT)

ptsd blackouts

Dissociative amnesia isn’t directly curable, but there are many treatment approaches that might help. One of the first steps is to remove or stop anything that might be causing or contributing to the amnesia. An example of this would be taking military personnel out of situations — especially combat — that might trigger or worsen amnesia.

Seek Treatment

It’s important to note that anxiety blackouts are not the same as fainting or seizures. During an anxiety blackout, the individual may not lose consciousness or exhibit physical symptoms such as jerking movements or convulsions. Instead, the blackout may manifest as a sudden loss of memory or a gap in recalling events during that time. One common type of psychogenic blackout is an anxiety-induced blackout (anxiety blackout loss of memory), where individuals may experience sudden memory loss during an anxious episode. It can happen when the brain is overwhelmed by excessive anxiety or stress, disrupting normal cognitive processes temporarily.

  • Psychogenic pseudosyncope (PPS) is an apparent loss of consciousness (LOC) in the absence of impaired cerebral perfusion or function.
  • Flashbacks and nightmares may force someone with PTSD to relive their trauma over and over, but they may find themselves unable to a remember a significant aspect of their experience.
  • If you pour liquor from a bigger bottle, you could add more than a fifth of alcohol.
  • People with PTSD often experience depression, negative thoughts, and impulsive or self-destructive behavior as well.
  • In this paradigm, patients construct a narrative of their traumatic experience that is later read to them while they are in the scanner.

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

From observing others it is easier to blame drugs or alcohol than to admit that their brain just quits processing living. Time blackouts are a separate category, similar to mental blackouts but not noticeable until a couple of days pass. Most people experience the sensation of being so involved with a project they don’t realize how much time has passed.

  • Maybe you don’t quite feel like “you.” Perhaps you’re set off by little things, scared to do the activities you used to love, or unsure how to relate to people at home or work anymore.
  • They usually surface within 3 months after the traumatic event, though they can arise at a later point as well.
  • I see flashes of images and noises burst through, fear comes out of nowhere.
  • Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt — all are common reactions to trauma.

If you have PTSD, this higher level of tension and arousal can become your normal state. That means the emotional and physical feelings of anger are more intense. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

ptsd blackouts

Even if the people around you don’t quite understand what you’re going through, there are people out there who do. Reading about other people’s journeys with PTSD may help you feel less isolated in your experience. Each of us responds differently to trauma, and no two experiences are alike. But when things feel out of sorts, something that can help us all is knowing that we’re not alone.

ptsd blackouts

Diagnosis of PTSD

ptsd blackouts

How common is PTSD?

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