Very unpleasant and dangerous situations may over-sensitise the brain’s alarm centre. Worst case scenario you develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – with a high risk of decreasing your life opportunities.
Recent research implies that, if you spend a lot of the time right after a traumatic incident, thinking and talking about how terrible it was, there is a risk that the incident will ‘get stuck’ in the alarm centre. And if you go to sleep whithin the first six hours after the incident, the alarm centre is more likely to remember the terrible incident – this is because experiences stick to our long term memory during sleep.
Research suggests that six very simple precautions during the first six hours after an acute crisis situation can decrease the risk of over-sensitising the brain’s alarm centre and thereby reduce the risk of developing PTSD:
1. Stay as far as possible in a safe place and with people who make you feel safe.
2. Calming and caring touching helps.
3. Pain relief (if injured).
4. It´s a good idea to talk about facts concerning what happened (relevant and coherent information); just be carefull about thinking and talking about how awful it was.
5. Take action – simple practical activities that directs your attention to something else.
6. Don´t go to sleep within the first six hours – and avoid sleeping medication.
Read the real life story About Acute Crisis – Protect the Alarm Centre.