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Prevalence of pain flashbacks in post-traumatic stress disorder arising from exposure to multiple traumas or childhood traumatization

MacDonald, B., Salomons, T. V., Meteyard, L. and Whalley, M. G. (2018) Prevalence of pain flashbacks in post-traumatic stress disorder arising from exposure to multiple traumas or childhood traumatization. Canadian Journal of Pain, 2 (1). pp. 48-56. ISSN 2474-0527

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/24740527.2018.1435994

Abstract/Summary

Background: Flashbacks are a form of multisensory memory that are experienced with a ‘happening in the present’ quality. Pain flashbacks are a re-experiencing of pain felt at the time of a traumatic event. It is unclear how common pain flashbacks are. Aims: The current study was designed primarily to assess the prevalence of pain flashbacks in a sample of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Methods: We assessed the prevalence of pain flashbacks over a period of two years in patients (n = 166) referred to a psychological trauma service in the UK. Patients underwent a clinical screen for PTSD, and completed a self-report measure of pain flashbacks. Results: Pain flashbacks were classified as present in 49% of a sample of complex trauma patients meeting criteria for PTSD. Pain flashbacks were positively associated with the extent of pain at the time of trauma. Conclusions: Pain re-experiencing in PTSD, and its relative absence in non-clinical populations, supports an account of memory in which perceptual details can be re- experienced when memories have been encoded under conditions of extreme stress. It may be possible to conceptualize some cases of unexplained pain as pain flashbacks, or of having a trauma origin.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:75478
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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