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"People exposed to trauma are less able to suppress unwanted emotional memories due to neural and behavioral disruptions in their brain that may contribute to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is characterized by intense reliving of the trauma that is repetitive, intrusive and incapacitating. The intrusive nature of these hallmark symptoms suggests that the inability to suppress unwanted memories may be a strong contributor to the behavioral manifestation of PTSD.
Previous work has shown that healthy individuals can actively suppress emotional memories while individuals with PTSD frequently experience unwanted memories of their traumatic experiences, even when making explicit efforts to avoid them. However, little is known regarding the behavioral and neural effects of memory suppression among individuals with PTSD."
This research confirms what is known clinically - that people with PTSD have trouble suppressing memories of traumatic events.
I had a client ask me yesterday if it was normal for the perception of certain objects around her home to trigger memories that were upsetting to her due to a traumatic incident that occured in her home.
I said, "Yes it is normal. However, what may be constructive or destructive, normal or abnormal, good or bad, is how you manage these memories when they are triggered." We then talked about progressive desensitization and she said, "You mean it may get better over time?"
I said, "Yes. Track the frequence, duration, and intensity over the course of several weeks, a month let's say. I predict the frequency will decrease, the intensity will decrease, and the intensity will decrease."
Can memories fade over time? Are there other ways of avoiding and evading troubling memories when they are triggered?