Solving the Mystery of Intrusive Flashbacks in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Comment on Brewin 2014)

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Abstract

In the light of current controversy about the nature of intrusions in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the review by Brewin (2014) is timely and important. It will undoubtedly stimulate further research and guide researchers' quests for understanding the nature of flashbacks in PTSD. In this commentary, I briefly summarize and discuss key points made by Brewin and elaborate on some of the reasons behind the controversy. For example, the terms involuntary autobiographical memories, intrusive memories, and flashbacks are often used interchangeably. I propose a taxonomy revealing the key differences across these forms of memory. If flashbacks are characteristic of patients with PTSD only, it is essential that more research targeting this population is conducted with a variety of methods. Finally, some new avenues for research to study intrusive memories and flashbacks in PTSD, using a diary method and modified trauma film paradigm, are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume140
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • involuntary autobiographical memories
  • intrusive memories
  • flashbacks
  • hotspots
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • INVOLUNTARY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • NONCLINICAL SAMPLE
  • SEMANTIC MEMORIES
  • TRAUMA
  • INTERFERENCE
  • DEPRESSION
  • VIVIDNESS
  • IMAGES
  • VOLUNTARY

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