Police Psychology | PTSD 2: Crash and Burn
by Gary S. Aumiller, PH.D. ABPP
Have you ever had the chance to be in a drunk driving simulation or even play a game on a drunk driving simulator? You try to keep the car on a straight path, but it keeps moving around. Every turn you make for the car is exaggerated and you end up swerving and pretty much out of control down the road. They even have games where you can add a pint of beer or a shot to the mix and see how hard it is to control the car with the extra drink. Essentially, you feel like you are separate from the vehicle, and the vehicle is doing whatever it wants. Until you crash and burn at the end. You almost always crash and burn or else there was no lesson taught.
When you have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), it is very much like being the driver in one of those simulators. You can usually control the directions, but the magnitude of the response is often not connected to the action you thought you made. Your emotions and feeling seem almost not linked to the events that are happening. It weird when you go from calm to angry in a matter of seconds or you go from smiling to crying because someone got a “A” on their report card in a kid’s movie that your child was watching on the Disney channel. There’s a name for all this, of course, us doctors give names for anything and everything. But the name is not as important to understand as the problems this can cause, the fact that it is normal and how to get rid of it! (more…)