Intrusion Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Intrusion Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

As a piece of being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, a person needs to experience symptoms in 4 separate categories beyond just exposure to a traumatic event.

One of those is the experience of intrusion symptoms, which look like recurrent, intrusive, and distressing memories of the event.


Related: What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?


An intrusive thought or memory means we aren’t recalling it on purpose, it is not voluntary, but rather appears when we aren’t expecting it, and we don’t want to think about it.

Intrusive thoughts can make a person feels as if they don’t have control over their thinking, which is distressing in and of itself, let alone that the traumatic memory is also painful.

Other intrusive symptoms include recurrent distressing dreams or nightmares and flashbacks.

Flashbacks are wakeful moments in which the person feels as if they are reliving or acting out the traumatic event all over again.


Related: Other Psych in 60 Videos on PTSD


The last set of intrusion symptoms are experiencing extended and intense emotional and physical distress when exposed to internal or external circumstances that remind us of the traumatic event such as certain sights, sounds, or smells.

Check out other videos in our Psych in 60 series for more information on PTSD and leave your question in the comment section below.

Click here for more content by Jennifer Fights, NCC, LPC!

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Jennifer is a strengths-based clinician who is creative, compassionate and non-judgmental. She enjoys working with adolescents, adults, and families. When providing therapy, her special interests include working with trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and self-harming behaviors. Jennifer is also trained in EMDR and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and incorporates these treatment modalities into her work when appropriate. In her work with adolescents specifically, Jennifer has expertise in behavioral disorders and defiance issues. When working with families, she strives to come alongside married and divorced parents alike, helping them effectively co-parent their children. Jennifer also helps children struggle well with difficult family circumstances. In addition, she enjoys integrating client’s faith with clinical treatment. As she feels strongly about educating and empowering others, Jennifer regularly provides training for fellow clinicians, non-profit organizations, parent and teen groups and educational institutions.


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