Possible to create flashbacks without trauma?

L

Lotta

Hi everyone.
Im wondering if there is any way to tell if intrusive thoughts and flashbacks could be something else than memories? Trying to make sense of my experiences and wondering if these are me just overthinking, creating a narrative which some how color my thinking in general. I know I have a lot of imagination but can you create a flashback? I had 2 so far. One before sleeping and one while meditating. Fast images, heartbeats, suprised, all in a few seconds.
 
Intrusive thoughts are a hallmark of certain kinds of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

As far as I know, you can't "make up" a flashback. But I guess you could mistake a really bad anxiety attack for a flashback?
 

Friday

Moderator
Possible to create flashbacks without trauma?
Is it possible to have flashbacks without trauma? Absolutely. Drugs are probably the best known source, but any kind of TBI, seizure or seizure disorder, heck virtually any kind of neurological disorder innate or acquired (When you start messing with the brain? Wacky stuff happens!), certain kinds of complicated grief, certain hormonal disorders, certain cancers, some kinds of eidetic memory are relived rather than recalled / as are certain kinds of SPD-related memories (sensory processing disorder)... list goes on. Flashbacks aren’t unique to trauma, nor PTSD, at all.

m wondering if there is any way to tell if intrusive thoughts and flashbacks could be something else than memories?

Ditto, COULD they be something else other than memories/real events that actually transpired? For sure. Hallucinations, delusions, one of several sleep-based disorders that overlay dreams on top of reality whilst awake (very different from both hallucinations & delusions, as well as very different from daydreaming), OCD or GAD or a double handful of others disorders that come with intrusive thoughts, medication side effects, certain kinds of allergic reactions, certain toxins & poisons, certain nutritional deficiencies or overdose (usually only found in people that lack the ability to break down specific substances, but with modern supplements one sometimes finds the same thing one used to only see in congenital/metabolitic disorders) the whole list I already mentioned above, and... a whole host of other things.

Is there a way to TELL, though? That depends. And is also why a full diagnostic medical review is supposed to be part of any psych diagnosis. As the only way to absolutely/definitely tell, is if it’s caused by something medical, rather than by something psychological.

Yes - Because if someone is hallucinating because of a brain tumor, or their thyroid, or their blood sugar being off, or an untreated STI, or alcohol use, or a nutritional deficiency, or an infection, etc.? You can test for that AND treat it medically (right then & there, for most things)... but 50 years of therapy won’t do a gosh darn thing about it... because it’s not being caused by a psychological disorder, but a medical condition.

Maybe - Once medical cause has been ruled out, then one looks at ALL the disorders that contain those symptoms (differential diagnosis), and tries to find the best fit. A teeeeeeensy tiny number of psych disorders have definitive tests, but the overwhelming majority do not. Instead it takes years of training, and tens of thousands of hours of experience to be confident in making a psych diagnosis, and even then? Misdiagnosis is still pretty common. For a lot of reasons. The most common reason for misdiagnosis is not ruling out medical conditions, it’s alarming how many practitioners don’t send their clients for a full work up before making a diagnosis. But the second most common reason is neck & neck between a mediocre practitioner & a client withholding information (for a ginormous number of reasons). The most commonly misdiagnosed disorders for PTSD, for example? Include all/most of the symptoms of PTSD, but there’s no trauma to make PTSD possible. If a client lies, or a practitioner is subpar and doesn’t bother asking specific questions, rather than umbrella questions? (Have you ever experienced a serious or life threatening trauma in your life? No. -vs- Have you ever been raped? Yes. Have you ever been in combat? Yes. Have you ever been in a natural disaster? Yes. Etc. Same client. Being honest answering both sets of questions.) You’re looking at half a dozen to a dozen wildly different disorders.
 
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L

Lotta

Thanks for your answers. I have a memory, which I know is real, from when I was a kid which include sexual humiliation but not really abuse since I cant remember what happend after a few seconds. My whole life Ive been thinking about this and wondering if something more happend than what I can remember. Then I lived a life with lots of stress, alcohol and sexual destructive patterns. I would consider myself highly sensitive and dissociative. I know I tend to fantasise and I can get stuck in my thinking. Last years Ive been working a lot with mindfulness since my negative patterns of thinking, sense of not being here and social fobia made my life difficult to live. While doing so I started having those intrusive thoughts and 2 times flashbacks. I didnt have a panic attack when those came- the opposite. The common thing for the 2 moments was that I was more relaxed in my body than I usually am. But my question is- to be more specific - is it possible I had, what had the character of a flashback, as a result of the life long narrative/ wondering I built up around that first child memory.
 
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