Psychological and psycho-traumatic features of extreme situations.

People in extreme conditions are affected by a number of different traumatic factors and psychological characteristics of extreme situations.. 

Psychological and psycho-traumatic features of extreme situations.

Psychological aspects of loneliness.

For a person who is alone, this circumstance is one of the main factors affecting the psychophysical state. But it happens that, even in a group, people in distress feel the same psycho-traumatic factors. Especially this often happens in a group of random people, without a leader or a noticeable leader..
situations away from housing in a completely unfamiliar area. Therefore, fear for one’s life, as a mechanism of mental protection, is a natural and completely regular state.

Psychological aspects of monotony.

This is no less important factor in mental disorders. This monotony of the situation, for example, while under the ground (in a cave or mining), at sea or in the ocean (on a raft, in a lifeboat or abandoned ship), in the desert or in the winter in the tundra. In this case, asthenization (depletion) of the nervous system occurs, which can lead to severe mental illness.

Psychological aspects of information restriction.

No less strongly affect a person or group of people. Lack of information about what happened can happen and what can be expected in the near future, can cause neurosis-like states and pronounced neurosis. This can lead to mental breakdown, rash actions and panic..

Threat to life.

Also affects the mental state of a person. When a person or group of people who find themselves in an extreme situation has to rely only on their own strength, the result of this condition becomes constant tension. It depletes the human nervous system, provokes attacks of fear. Fear for one’s life, as a mechanism of mental protection, is a natural and completely regular state. It is clear that all these situations cause quite normal feelings and emotions for each person. Therefore, it is logical to classify them as follows:

Fear :

for his life with serious injuries and injuries;
for the lives of those we love and who are dear to us; to be alone;
in case of loss of control over their actions;
at the thought that such an event (phenomenon) may recur again.


Arising when the incident reveals your inability to change anything and you are powerless to resist it.


Due to fear of death, injury or loss of life. Longing for all this to happen.


From what you had better than others, that is, because you are alive and not injured.


for exposing yourself as helpless, sensitive, and in need of others;
for the fact that you did not react to what happened as you would like, did not do what you should.


for what happened, and for who caused it;
the injustice and meaninglessness of everything that happens;
for the experienced shame and resentment;
for the lack of my understanding of other people, for the futility of attempts to explain my conditions to them: why am I?


About feelings associated with the absence of other people in your life who have been injured or died.


In myself, in others, in life.


For the future, for better times, that everything will be fine.

Such feelings and emotions appear in almost every person, especially during disasters and accidents associated with finding an autonomous existence in an extreme situation. And most clearly they appear and become intense if:

many people died;
their death was sudden or, conversely, was accompanied by heavy death pains;
from the wreckage of a vehicle, a collapse, an avalanche, etc., all bodies were not removed;
there was a great dependence on the person who died, or attachment to him;
relations with the dead or wounded were in conflict; this stress was preceded by others.

The treatment of all these conditions is very simple to enable all your feelings and emotions to come out. This will not lead to the loss of self-control, but the suppression of these feelings can lead to dire consequences of neurosis and physical problems. It should also be remembered that mental pain, pain from psychological trauma leads to its cure. After overcoming strong psychological stress, a person can become a stronger spirit, balanced and mature..

Given all of the above, it should be accepted as an indisputable fact that the first reaction to danger is always instinctive, since self-preservation is a powerful instinct. Therefore, the main requirement in the struggle for survival is clarity of thought and its concentration on the next task facing you. First of all, we need to assess the situation and plan our actions. You can’t think of yourself as a homeless tramp.

It is necessary to get used to the real situation, to feel like a native (a native of this area, adapted to the surrounding nature). This, of course, will help maintain a sense of confidence and stay alive in this situation. Of course, all stresses fear, pain, cold, heat and despondency are easier to bear when a person is not alone. All hardships and hardships resulting from a vehicle accident, natural disaster or loss of orientation (in an unpopulated area or cave) are easier to carry in a team.

There is the possibility of a joint discussion of their situation, it is easier to provide first aid to the victims. But there is one very important rule in a group of people who are in an extreme situation, there should not be a collective leadership! Distribution of duties reduces physical activity. And the presence in the group of an experienced leader allows you to quickly make the right decisions.

Based on materials from the book Encyclopedia of Survival.
Chernysh I. V.

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