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PTSD and Religion

John Collins5/1/2012 9:58:00 PMA new category in psychological trauma has emerged due to the many cult and cult-like religions that have plagued the nations recently. New Age religions have created what is now dubbed "Religious Abuse," which is essentially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by the trauma within one's own mind through constant traumatic religious experiences.

When a follower has endured many years of oppressive mental and emotional abuse, scare tactics, religious punishment, and cut off (mentally) from the outside world, they develop long-lasting mental scars that are difficult to heal. Over the years, these people feel helpless to the religious intimidation, similar to a prisoner of war contained in a concentration camp.

As a result, these people are spiritually fragmented and broken, with a complete loss of self-worth. Even worse, they re-live these experiences for many years to come with intrusive and upsetting memories, flashbacks, nightmares, severe and intense distress over memories, or intense physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, or sweating.

People suffering with this desperately need love and attention. Not only is the person living in a constant war with him/herself, they are in danger of harming themselves or others.

Symptoms and behaviors to watch for:

  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind them of the trauma
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Sense of a limited future (they don't expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
  • Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (on constant "red alert")
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled