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  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 58 ✭✭✭ Ngannou54

    I have a good friend who feels faint/sometimes actually faints when they hear stories/watch documentaries/films etc which concern sexual abuse/assault particularly child abuse. They have to leave the room sometimes if something comes on the tv which triggers this or they can actually lose consciousness. These are very rare events but my friend tells me they have persisted throughout their teens and adult years. What could be the cause of this reaction?


  • I don't know, it sounds like something close to the bone if that's his/her reaction. Has your friend sought professional advice around this issue, or specialised support?

  • Fainting or feeling faint is a physical phenomenon that occurs when there's a temporary drop in blood supply or oxygen to the brain.

    There are multiple reasons why this can happen, but one of them is a nervous system "malfunction" known as a vasovagal response, which is where emotional stress (and sometimes physical), causes blood pressure to drop and heartbeat to suddenly slow. This causes a drop in oxygen to the brain and if severe enough will make you faint.

    That's the how, but not the why. Which is something he should explore. It doesn't necessarily mean your friend has been abused in the past, it may just be something that triggers an extreme emotional response from him and thus causes fainting. Some level of CBT or perhaps even medication may be required.

    However, it may also be the case that this response is exposing an underlying physical condition - i.e. another person may feel the same reaction, but not faint. But if your friend has poor oxygen uptake or an irregular cardiac rhythm, then this response may be more severe in him.

    So it is definitely worth a trip to the GP first and foremost to see if they advise tests such as an ECG or stress test, to rule out any underlying physical issue.