Survival and risk factors, the role of fear and panic in extreme and emergency situations.

The emotional reaction of a person to a particular danger depends largely on his will, inner composure, ability to overcome the instinct of self-preservation. Not every person is capable of immediate action in a difficult situation, and especially expedient and energetic, without a panic state. 

Survival and risk factors, the role of fear and panic in extreme and emergency situations.

Very many people, apparently remaining completely calm, are actually in a state of a peculiar shock of a panic state. They appear lethargic in actions or an absolute lack of activity. The role of fear and panic in an extreme situation is very significant. Quite often, in the event of an emergency, a person or group of people has a fairly stable panic state: confusion, confusion, fear of sudden circumstances.
or village, there was a sudden meeting with a predatory animal, a poisonous snake, etc. The first manifestations of panic horror are numbness of the legs, back and neck (the person seems to become numb), cold perspiration and nausea, blurred eyes. Lips dry and crack, salt crystals appear on them.

In this case, the behavior of a person or group can be different passive or active. In the first case, a person loses the ability to move and may even lose consciousness. Sometimes such a sharp inhibition in action and numbness can lead to more serious consequences of death from a heart rupture. In the second, a panic state manifests itself in instinctive defensive actions, completely unreasonable and illogical, for example, a side jump, a scream, a quick flight.

Sometimes this leads to a positive result and helps to avoid danger, but sometimes such actions, purely defensive in nature, can lead to serious consequences. It all depends on the current situation and specific conditions. In addition, panic can cause:

random throwing in different directions with a loss of orientation; loss of equipment during a stampede;
movement without insurance in potentially dangerous places and as a result, disruptions from the rocks, drowning at the crossing over a turbulent stream, falling into a quagmire in a swamp, access to an avalanche-hazardous slope;
other illogical actions associated with pronounced depression.

In the third case, the manifestation of dangerous confusion is the so-called silent panic, that is, a feeling of complete helplessness and doom. It manifests itself in the occurrence of absolute depression and the complete cessation of all resistance to the danger that has arisen. In all of the above cases, sudden emotional tension and a violation of a person’s logical thinking cause accidents and serious injuries..

Panic is surprisingly contagious. It is easily transmitted from one person to another and can quickly reach the entire group and jeopardize the possibility of a trouble-free exit from an extreme situation. There is no cure for panic. It all depends on the individual qualities of a person. However, to prevent panic, experience of survival in difficult conditions is needed, the confidence that in an emergency a person will successfully overcome all difficulties and will fight for life to the end.

But, unfortunately, all this may not be possible for people who, by chance, find themselves in an extreme situation together. Psychologists believe that being in the same extreme conditions will cause an experienced person with good physical and special training to mobilize strength, and for a beginner, a person who is unbalanced and overly emotional, fear and confusion will turn into panic. An unstable or weak nervous system, illness, physical or mental fatigue contribute to a panic state..

First of all, the inexperience of a person who is in an extreme situation lies in the lack of general physical preparation, in the absence or low level of technical and tactical knowledge of various types of tourism, mountain climbing and speleology, and the absence of hiking skills. And besides, the beginner has little idea of ​​the possible dangers. An experienced hiker, climber or traveler overcomes most of the obstacles almost automatically, with minimal effort, and therefore he is more protected from possible dangers.

He pays less attention to adverse environmental influences (wind, cold, heat), as he knows when to take them into account and when not to. Thus, about 3/4 of all those who fell into an extreme situation in the first minutes have a hysterical reaction. Some are very excited and disordered in their actions, others, on the contrary, are inhibited, depressed and completely indifferent to what is happening around. They are completely helpless and incapable of any activity..

And only one quarter of all other people in a similar situation are capable of reasonable, decisive actions and the correct assessment of the situation. After some time, most people still calm down and adapt to the current situation, to a new, unusual situation for them and begin to act. The time required for adaptation depends on many circumstances. This is the psychophysical state of a person, and the presence of a supply of water, food and medicines, equipment or their complete absence.

And how long can a person be in the extreme conditions of autonomous existence alone, and even more so if he is injured and his comrades die? What are the deadlines for such an existence? Their duration depends on a number of reasons, both objective and subjective, which can either impede or, conversely, favor an individual in an extreme situation. These reasons are called survival factors, and according to many experts in the field of survival, they can be divided into four groups:

1. Anthropological.
2. Environmental.
3. Logistics.
4. Stressful and environmental.

The interconnection of all these components is undoubted, and therefore we will consider each group in more detail.

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

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