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Veterans with these anniversary reactions had significantly more PTSD symptoms than Veterans who did not have anniversary reactions, and all of the Veterans who met criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD had anniversary reactions (6).
Most people will feel better within a week or two after the anniversary.
The anniversary of an event can trigger a traumatic memory that produces these kinds of strong emotions as well as physiological reactions, negative thoughts about the world, and protective coping responses.
Other types of anniversary reactions may involve anxiety symptoms such as panic, specific fears, or worry.
These memories may be triggered by reminders, but memories may also seem to come from out of the blue while at work, home, or doing recreational activities.
Schnurr, Ph D On the anniversary of traumatic events, some people may find that they experience an increase in distressing memories of the event.
One theory about why anniversary reactions occur is based on the way traumatic experiences are represented in memory.
According to Foa and Kozak (1), traumatic memories contain specific information about the dangerousness of an event so that people will seek safety and protect themselves from similar harm.