Avoidance Behavior in People With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Avoidance Symptoms

Because thinking about the trauma and feeling as if you are in danger is upsetting, people with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder often try to avoid these reminders.
 
Sometimes, survivors are aware that they are avoiding reminders; other times, survivors do not realize that their behavior is motivated by the need to avoid reminders of the trauma.
 
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that signify ways of avoiding thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with the event can include:
 
  • Actively avoiding trauma-related thoughts and memories
  • Avoiding conversations and staying away from places, activities, or people that might remind you of the trauma
  • Trouble remembering important parts of what happened during the event
  • Shutting down emotionally or feeling emotionally numb
  • Trouble having loving feelings or feeling any strong emotions
  • Finding that things around you seem strange or unreal
  • Feeling strange
  • Feeling disconnected from the world around you and things that happen to you
  • Avoiding situations that might make you have a strong emotional reaction
  • Feeling strange physical sensations
  • Feeling physically numb
  • Not feeling pain or other sensations
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy doing.
     
Trying to avoid thinking about the trauma and avoiding treatment for related problems may keep a person from feeling upset in the short term, but avoiding treatment means that in the long term, the post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms will persist.
 
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Info

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