Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Categories: Health and Medicine | Society

In order to get a severe psychological trauma, it is not necessary to be in a combat zone. Acute stress disorder can be obtained by watching violence on the Internet and on TV. Aggressive propaganda further aggravates the destructive effect of negative news from areas of military conflicts, natural and man-made disasters.

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Many feel confident that people who are not in a war zone or disaster have nothing to complain about. This is not so, and even being thousands of kilometers away from the epicenter of events, you can easily get psychological trauma. Therefore, everyone suffers from the victims themselves and ending with readers of gloomy news.

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Scientists have found that it is almost impossible to abstract from the spectacle of death, violence and destruction. The most persistent psyche fails under the pressure of terrible shots from the scenes of tragedies. Reactions in people can be different, but the most typical are the following symptoms:

Strange as it may seem, but the human psyche does not always work logically. It has already been precisely established that the observed threat can be perceived harder than the real one. The damage caused by viewing scary shots to a person can be of varying severity — it's very individual.

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

It should be remembered that stress is a completely normal reaction to negativity. There are only three human reactions to stress: hit, run and freeze. The first is aimed at instantly eliminating the source of stress. The second is a way to get away from him, and the third is the hope that the negative can be waited out, endured. When a person is only observing, the third option is usually used.

Now many are in a state where the acute stage of the shock reaction has passed. The intensity of the experiences has decreased and it seems to us that we have adapted. But this is not entirely true, because stress factors will continue to affect us until the alarming situation disappears.

This means that soon the acute phase of stress will change to a chronic one. The tension will no longer be so strong — the symptoms will smooth out and will bother less and less. But there will be consequences, such as background anxiety, problems with sleep and concentration, a decrease in the usual level of activity and mood.

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Psychologists advise not to ignore this condition and not try to live as if nothing had happened further. Any stress requires serious resource mobilization. You can tolerate it for a very long time, but not indefinitely. Sooner or later, the forces will run out and acute stress disorder will occur. This condition is also called "acute stress reaction", or "psychological shock".

The internationally recognized "DSM-V Manual of Mental Disorders" states that psychological shock occurs shortly after a traumatic event. It can last from three days to a month, but it quickly disappears after the source of stress is eliminated.

The longer the state of shock lasts, the worse it is for our psyche. Complications can be different, from sleep disorders and exacerbation of chronic somatic diseases, to full-fledged mental disorders. Some may develop post-traumatic syndrome.

The main way to cope with a stressful situation is to create an "airbag". It does not guarantee full protection of the psyche, but it can reduce the severity of experiences. In a state of stress, the planning horizon is small, since the situation around us is too unpredictable.

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Sometimes you even lose a sense of control over your life, which is very bad. Drawing up a mini-plan helps in this situation. To do this, you just need to answer the following questions honestly:

Communication with people helps to survive acute stress. But it should be those with whom we feel safe. It's not always relatives or even friends — you can get support from very unexpected people. Don't forget that the support process should be two-way.

Think about the control zone. Even in the most stressful unfavorable environment, there are things over which you retain control. Find them and manage at least something! You can build your confidence in the future through routine. This phenomenon, which seems terrible to us in ordinary life, can help out a lot with stress.

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

Getting ready for bed, cooking, home cleaning — all these boring everyday processes, repetitive and predictable, strengthen the sense of stability and manageability. Movement helps to relieve tension — jump, walk, squat. Such activity helps to complete the stress response cycle.

Find support in your own thoughts and values. When the world around you is collapsing and it is impossible to predict the future, thinking about what is dear to you can become your main support. And it's also worth taking a little time and determining your place in the current situation. Think about how you would like to live this troubled time and how to remember yourself in it.

Meditation, mindfulness practices and breathing exercises can also be useful. The exercise called showed itself well in stressful situations "5 — 4— 3 — 2 — 1". With its help, you can distract yourself and switch from restless thoughts to others. Name five things you see and describe them. For example, "blue sky outside the window", "wallpaper in a blue flower", "old wooden chair".

Witness Trauma: How the Contemplation of violence destroys a person's psyche

After that, name four things that you feel. For example, how the back rests on the back of the chair, what texture your hands feel, whether it is comfortable for you to sit or stand. Then pay attention to the three sounds that you hear outside the window or near you. After that, you need to describe two smells and one taste that is present right now. When you are overcome by panic and anxiety, do these simple tasks. They will help you cope with the negativity and pull yourself together.

But most importantly, never forget that even the darkest times pass and after them comes the era of creation, love and happiness. Your main task is to preserve your psyche until it comes.

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