How can I stop flash backs from happening?
Last Updated: 11/07/2016 at 5:42pm
Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.
Top Rated Answers
Flashbacks are usually triggered when our brain interprets a smell, sight, sound or touch or other trigger that frightens us, generally signaling danger. It's a classic symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). This booklet shares more about PTSD - http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml. In my experience there are several things that can be done to help reduce and stop the flashbacks. The primary task is to get our senses to connect with the here and now. I've done this by using grounding techniques. Using something such as PlayDoh that I can stimulate my senses - I can smell it and I can feel it. This is important because it is something in the here and now, and I can manipulate it, describe it's texture, color, smell, and more. Trying to look around. If I can see that I'm in my home now - the trees outside my window, or the tv on my tv stand, or my pet that is near by - things that weren't there when I experienced the trauma I experienced. Getting up and getting a cold drink has helped because it has got me moving, it has used my senses again (taste and touch), and it has changed the room I am in most likely. Remembering to take slow deep breaths is important. This can help us to calm down and regroup. Do you have something that you associate with the here and now that has nothing to do with the past such as a necklace you can touch or a blanket or shawl that you can wrap up in? Connecting with items that have absolutely no attachment to the past can be helpful. Using music to bring you back to the here and now - again, music that has nothing to do with the trauma can be helpful. There are many other ways to work on grounding but these are just a few that have been helpful for myself and many others. If one doesn't work, try another one. Sometimes one will work this time, and another one the next time. Don't give up trying to get through them. Remember, they will pass.
Flashbacks are awful things to go through, its like your brain and body is taken over. I'd recommend anyone suffering from these to have a look into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as this can help change the way your brain reacts to triggers and can help spot when flashbacks are about to happen, providing your tools and tips on how to prevent and also ride through those painful experiences. My own tool that I discovered through CBT was to smell something very powerful, that reminded me of a good place, whenever I was on the verge of having a flashback. If it was too late, then I used that smell after it happened so I could calm myself down. The fragrance I used was vanilla essence, I'd carry a tiny bottle with me everywhere. Of course we are all different, however our senses are powerful things.
flash backs are reminders that some things are left unfinished,you must always try to complete your tasks and then move on to next,same with problems if you have so many problems unsolved they will flash in your front so find out your problems and try to solve them immediately
This is really hard and I would say that you can't and it does feel that way but you can; it's just very time consuming and you need to have a lot of patience. Flashbacks usually result in the emotional connection to a previous experience. If you lose that emotional connection, things will get better. You need to speak about the flashbacks and go into depth about it if need be. You need to mourn over what happened. The more you talk about an experience, the more it seems like just a really bad nightmare. I would suggest going to see a counsellor who can not only give you self-help techniques but can also give you advice on any medication that you may need to take if they discover there's any health problems you didn't realise you had. You may also like to partake in any group therapy nearby. All this is from my own experiences so your experiences may differ but there's no harm in giving something a try at least once, especially if it's no danger to your health.
It can be hard to deal with and turn off un-wanted images from your mind. If these are negative flash backs of a negative situation then perhaps seeking help or advice from a counselor or therapist will help you to deal with your feelings.
By practicing mindfulness we can be more in the present moment than in the past, and live a healthier life.
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