Lots of people experience a traumatic event at some point in their life: only a few, however, will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If we could work out who was likely to develop PTSD, we could perhaps do something to prevent it taking hold.
For a while, there was a fashion for giving people who’d experienced a traumatic event a “debriefing” with a counsellor, on the basis that if they could talk about it soon after it happened, they could get it out of their system.
This turned out to be counter-productive. Mental recovery from a trauma depends on being able to convert short-term memories into long-term ones. (PTSD sufferers experience a past trauma as if it had just happened, experiencing flashbacks and anxiety symptoms.) Talking about the event soon after it has happened, however, does the opposite: it keeps the memories fresh.
So the more…
View original post 361 more words