MAFS star Domenica Calarco is not the first contestant to be diagnosed with PTSD.

While our insatiable appetite for reality TV continues unabated, an expert has warned that ex-participants with PTSD may be on the rise.

In recent years, former reality TV contestants have been increasingly outspoken about the mental health effects of the fast-paced rise to fame, with a number of stars showing symptoms of depression and anxiety after filming.

But a handful of others, including MAFS favorite Domenica Calarco earlier this month — came out with allegations of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their foray into the emotionally charged area.

Once the diagnosis was heard mainly among war veterans and police officers, clinical psychologist Dr. Rebecca Ray told that the high-stress reality TV environment is fraught with potential triggers and explained why it’s important to change the narrative surrounding what defines a patient with the disorder.

So how does a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder come about?

PTSD is a series of reactions that occur after experiencing a traumatic event.

Symptoms, which include intrusive memories, reminder avoidance behavior, negative thoughts and moods, and signs of distress, including increased anxiety and inability to sleep, must have been present for more than a month before a diagnosis can be made, Dr. Ray said.

“If the symptoms disappear after a month, then these symptoms are diagnosed as an acute stress disorder, which, in fact, is a normal reaction to an abnormal event,” she explained.

This condition has been studied over the years, and there has been fierce debate about what constitutes a “traumatic event”.

Traditionally, according to Dr. Ray, the stressor was only associated with death, severe injury, sexual assault, or threats of such harm.

“So, from the outset, it follows from these criteria that participation in a reality show cannot lead to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said, clarifying that we should not neglect, given MAFS The “social experiment” comes with its own set of dangers.

“We must take into account that MAFS “experiment” violates the psychological safety of the participant.

“This means that severe psychological trauma can (and does) occur during filming, often in response to situations designed for maximum entertainment value.”

After listing the show’s tendency to “create and encourage” conflict, combine “opposite personality styles” and work through “long days of filming in uncomfortable conditions” coupled with the supply of alcohol at dinner parties, Dr. Ray went on to question the show’s selection criteria. .

In her opinion, the problem lies in “bundling big personalities and putting them in situations that intentionally cause reactivity and distress.”

Her comments came shortly after MAFS expert Alessandra Rampolla revealed that contestants are selected prior to matches.

“What can help is pre-participation psychological testing that looks for previous mental health issues, behavioral issues, and any current symptoms,” Dr. Ray suggested a safer path forward, adding that “focus on helping participants cope.” with stressful filming conditions rather than using it as an ingredient for more entertainment” would be beneficial. contacted Channel 9 for a response to Dr. Ray’s comments, but received no response prior to publication.

How Life at Home After MAFS Led to a Breakthrough in Therapy

Talking about your new podcast with a colleague MAFS Bride Ella Ding, Dom said after filming, felt panicked in group dinner situations reminiscent of the infamous explosive situations. MAFS dinner parties.

Dom has been involved in several dinner party altercations, including one in which she smashed a glass of wine on the table in desperation, the moment that sparked the nude photo scandal this season.

But her post-traumatic stress disorder posting was met with some disturbing reactions, with some readers of speculating that the diagnosis was inaccurate or just an exaggeration on Dom’s part.

“This is an insult to real PTSD sufferers like those who fought for our country,” one person said. Facebook said in response to our story.

“You don’t get PTSD from dinner parties,” repeated another.

Dr Ray said this is a common misconception.

“The problem with this attitude is that it does not take into account the fact that PTSD is not only diagnosed based on the severity and type of event, but is also diagnosed based on the response to the event.

“Most people who have been traumatized—whether it be a breach of psychological safety resulting in psychological trauma from a reality show, or an exposure to a military situation—do not experience the full spectrum of PTSD symptoms and do not meet the criteria. to get a diagnosis. Some people do. Comparison of injuries and their validity is completely useless and nullifies a person’s personal experience.

While Dr. Ray noted that not every reality TV contestant will have the same experience, Dom is not the first MAFS star to walk away with symptoms.

MAFS Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Past and Former Expert’s Eerie Omen

Inez Basic, who was implicated in one of the infamous “fraud sagas” in the 2019 season of the Channel 9 reality show, revealed Now to love her mental health suffered both during and after filming.

Opening the post, she revealed that she was diagnosed with “complex post-traumatic stress disorder” a few months after filming the show due to conditions on set. She said she was traumatized again by her “villainous editing” while rewatching the show.

“I didn’t feel well during and after [the show]I think it was obvious, but it got worse,” she told Now To Love.

“I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder. It was 110 percent caused by the show. There is nothing normal about the conditions on these sets or anything like that. [they] do to you,” she said.

In 2020, Natasha Spencer, who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, said her past trauma was caused by another bride on the program alleging an indecent attack on her fiancé.

Spencer suffered what she called a “mental breakdown” during filming and eventually left the show of her own accord.

Last year she told ABC news it took her almost two years to recover from this ordeal.

At that time the former MAFS Expert Dr. Trisha Stratford told the publication that she was aware of Natasha’s problems but felt sidelined when she tried to voice her concerns. Following the departure of Dr. Stratford in 2020, she gave a scathing interview about her time on the series.

“At the end of the day, I couldn’t compromise my professional and personal standards because there were contestants on the show that I didn’t feel were supposed to be there,” Dr. Stratford said. Women’s Day New Zealand in 2021.

She claimed MAFS candidates who were labeled “fragile” by pundits during the selection process often made it into the final pool, recalling that “there were contestants on the show that I thought shouldn’t have been there.”

Interestingly, a New Zealand therapist compared MAFS experience of “war zone conflict”, saying she “felt bad” watching some dinner parties unfold.

PTSD is not exclusive MAFSor with the diagnosis of a former reality TV star that set a major legal precedent in 2019.

Nicole Prince from Channel 7 reality competition house rules compensation was granted after she developed anxiety, depression, and PTSD due to the severe backlash and threats she received after being portrayed as a “villain”.

Prince claimed she was unemployed as would-be bosses feared she was “bullying” because of her portrayal.

Risks of Watching Your Own Season After a Trigger Experience

Dr. Ray said that watching the show in some cases can interfere with recovery, while for others it can help to forget about the experience.

“It depends on where the person is at the time the show airs,” she said.

“If a person did have problems during filming, but they received psychological treatment, are well supported by professionals and have a healthy relationship with them, then some people may prefer to know what was on the air so that they can process it and move on.

“For other people, watching the final cut can be a trigger to exacerbate post-traumatic symptoms because it shows them a lack of control over how they are portrayed. This lack of control creates even more suffering when the contestant has no right to respond and continues to be criticized in the media.”

How to deal with PTSD

“PTSD is treatable and it is absolutely possible to fully recover and live a full and fulfilling life after an injury,” said Dr. Ray.

“To move forward, seek help from your doctor and mental health professional who will make you feel seen, heard and understood, focus on a healthy lifestyle for your body and mind (good sleep, nutrition and movement habits) and stay next to people who love you and make you feel good in their company.”

Dr. Rebecca Ray – clinical psychologist, speaker and author Small habits for a big life, Pan Macmillan, this weekend.

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