• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

Meg

Dr. Meg, Global Moderator, Practitioner
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Hi all,

I was just wondering if someone might be able to give me, or direct me to, a reliable definition of a flashback? I have read quite a few, but there seems to be some variance in how loosely the term is used: some seem to include memories that arouse strong emotion though the person remains 'grounded', while others seem to limit it to experiences where it feels as though the event is being relived. I experience both so it doesn't make too much difference really, it's just something I've been wondering about for a while.

Thanks!
Meg
 

David Baxter

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http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/anxietyglossaryf/g/defflashback.htm (warning: about.com pages contain popups)

“flashback”

Definition: A vivid memory that may include images, sounds, smells, or feelings. With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), these memories are related to the trauma that occurred, and the person having the flashback may feel like he or she is re-living the trauma. With PTSD, flashbacks often are recurring and disturbing. During a flashback, the person may lose touch with reality. Flashbacks sometimes have triggers (such as the anniversary date of the event or particular sounds or smells) but may also occur without a specific trigger, even when the person is relaxed.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/reliving.cfm

Some studies have shown that cortisol levels are lower than normal and epinephrine and norepinephrine are higher than normal [in individuals with PTSD]. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter released during stress, and one of its functions is to activate the hippocampus, the brain structure involved with organizing and storing information for long-term memory. This action of norepinephrine is thought to be one reason why people generally can remember emotionally arousing events better than other situations. Under the extreme stress of trauma, norepinephrine may act longer or more intensely on the hippocampus, leading to the formation of abnormally strong memories that are then experienced as flashbacks or intrusions.
 

Meg

Dr. Meg, Global Moderator, Practitioner
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Thanks Dr Baxter, I appreciate it very much.

Meg
 

prayerbear

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:dontknow: I am taking Paxil 65mg CR for OCD/depression, and my doctor seems to feel this is enough. With PTSD also being a diagnosis, would buspar help with the nightmares and irritability? Or do you think the Paxil is enough?
 

David Baxter

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miss clean, your doctor knows you and your medical history and is really the person in the best position to judge what medications will assist you. There may be reasons not to combine medications for certain people and there's no way for us to know what his or her thinking is in your case.

If you are uncertain about the adequacy of your current medications, you should discuss it with your doctor.
 

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