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Primary cognitive distortions (negative thinking styles)

It is a really good an informative article, but with all due respect @anthony I do think there is more to this than cognitive distortion. I recently had the absolute pleasure of seeing a brilliant Neuropsychiatrist who explained a few things to me and from following up and reflecting on my own experience I do KNOW there is the cognitive aspect, however for me (at least) there is an incredibly strong sub-conscious response to stimuli eg a startle reflex like action from an unexpected noise, or someone coming up behind me. There is no chance for a thought process, it is act first and think later.
Thread starter #14
Cognitive distortions only scratch the surface of dealing with PTSD. But they are the first thing you should be looking at AND a constant you have to work upon for the rest of your life. PTSD or not. If you can't change how you look at things, how you react and behave, you won't come close to dealing with the deeper issues that stem from trauma therapy and such treatments.


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Cognitive distortion is ONE symptom of PTSD, not the only one. For some it's the major one, for others (see Spacefish) it isn't. This was clear to me while reading the article, as it gives really good examples to understand how cognitive distortion manifests and to reflect upon own actions and thought patterns, but it might not be as obvious to others?

I'm also not sure I agree that this should be the first thing to look at as I agree with Spacefish that it really depends on the specific person's symptoms (but then, I'm no therapist, so what do I know :) ).

If you can't change how you look at things, how you react and behave
I'm pretty sure you don't mean it like this, but this could come across wrong. It almost reads as "You just have to try a little harder". I can see how this part can come across as insulting because I'm pretty sure everyone who's a sufferer in this forum has been trying. It just fortifies their feeling of being a failure. It touches on the common stigma that people "just have to snap out of it". Again, I know that's not what you're implying, but it could be read like this by someone in a bad place.
Thread starter #16
Cognitive distortion is ONE symptom of PTSD
Cognitive distortions are NOT a symptom, they are a facet of every single persons irrational thinking in day to day life. The very definition of a distortion is that they thinking is flawed, skewed, not healthy.

Stop confusing PTSD and irrational thinking. If you are looking at things only one, or limited ways, and the outcome is a distorted view of the reality, then it is a distortion. Every single person has them. They simply vary depending on other factors, ie. PTSD or other mental health issue.

Correcting distortions increases your mental health to venture into more areas of healing trauma / symptoms. You can't think your way out of things. You can however correct illogical thinking due to trauma / experiences.

An example.

If you lock yourself away in your home, a fear of being robbed, beaten or killed if you go outside within the context of your normal city, a distortion is present that only you can change by changing your thinking.

99.9% of people in your city venture outside daily, without any of these issues. If your focus was on that 0.01% as reality of the world, your logic is distorted, because you are discarding that 99.9% of people are not exposed to this daily.

Now, if you lived in a high crime area where robbery, assault and such is the majority occurence (factually), then that is not a distortion, but reality.

The issue is getting unreal logic back to reality. That is the point of fixing cognitive distortions. Whether you have a lifetime of trauma or just a single event, or nothing traumatic at all, distortions can be corrected by introducing alternatives and fact, then coming to terms with them by trialling / researching and accepting was is fact vs. skewed logic.

If you are negatively affected, then it can be changed. It is not about positive thinking. If you think that, you are wrong about distortions.


If there is no cognitive distortion element to trauma, we would not have CBT so popular treatment. However, my personal experience tells me that whenever I integrate or recover a portion of my past/part/acknowledge or normalize an affect or a thought - many distortions disappear. I only know sometimes after they are gone. I would be like wow! I used to think that way and all of sudden I do not.
Great article, thanks! I do not think it matters how this relates to ptsd, in that, we all have tough times when we just start thinking all negative. And for all you know, we all have a reason, and it could be the best reason, but it doesn't help. Not that we should avoid all negative feelings, that would be distortion too. But I think we can all tell when we have gone deeper and every single small thing starts to look worse than it is. Personally I'm going through such moment and maybe analysing my thoughts will help a bit. And no, of course there is no one huge solution to our suffering. Humans are complex and we have history and systems and when something big happens to you of course there is no one solution fits all, or even one solution that solves anything. In my experience of the times I've gotten better, it's usually been after sustained months of combined affort of many self are things, and therapy and a loooot of factors. Not just one. But this is a great article on one of those factors.
Thread starter #22
But I think we can all tell when we have gone deeper and every single small thing starts to look worse than it is
Nope. This is where your thinking is incorrect. Most people who have travelled this far down the rabbit hole do not know their logic is distorted. It becomes the new normal for them. Especially those whose logic is distorted from childhood, have zero reality to know what is societal normal.
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