Post Traumatic Stress Disorder orPTSD Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, as defined by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health disorders Fourth Edition (healmyptsd.com), is the development of symptoms following exposure to an extreme stressor involving: Direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to ones physical integrity. Witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person Learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or their close associate. The person’s response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror (or in children, the response must involve disorganized or agitated behavior).
In the Brain Studies suggest there are three areas in the brain that are different in those with PTSD (Nutt, Malizia pubmed.gov): The hippocampus, amygdala, and the medial frontal cortex. It is suggested that the symptoms of PTSD may be related to a failure of “higher functioning” brain regions, the hippocampus and the medial cortex, to dampen or soften the symptoms of the arousal and distress that are being experienced and mediated through the amygdala.
In the Brain Cont’d Memory is a key component to PTSD because the traumatic event may be relived constantly via memory. Both the amygdala and the hippocampus are key in human memory It is believed that the amygdala is the “fear center” of the brain Persons with PTSD have an over active amygdala The hippocampus is smaller in those with PTSD when compared to those without the disorder (Wang, Xiao, 138-144) This may be due to the trauma or genetics, the jury is still out!
Symptoms of PTSD As in the book Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD (57, 58), There are many characteristics of PTSD including, but not limited to: Startling easily Reliving the traumatic event, chronic or intrusive recalling of the event Nightmares, night terrors, and night sweats Feeling numbness, distant or sad Aggressiveness and violence Addiction Depression and/or contemplation of suicide Guilt – this can come from feelings like “why did I live and they didn’t?” or “this was my fault” Flashbacks – Which may include triggers like sounds, smells, feelings, and loud noises Avoidance of places or social events that spark memories and the anniversary of the event. Here is a link to do a self test to see if you may have PTSD: www.healthyplace.com/psychological-test/ptsd-test/
How likely are YOU to get PTSD? The likelihood of someone getting PTSD depends on many factors such as: How severe the trauma was If you were injured The intensity of your reaction Whether someone close to you was injured How much your life was in danger How much you felt out of control How much help and support you got following the event (Lawhorne, Philpott; 58, 162)
Treatment for PTSD There seems to be many different treatments for PTSD Treatment usually comes in the form of psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), medication or both (Lawhorne, Philpott, 113-137). There are always new ways to deal with the disorder and one a newer treatment is called NeurofeedbackPTSD Brain SPECT scan Neurofeedback YouTube – www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjPzjV akyd8
Annotated Bibliography Rosenthal, M. (2012). What is PTSD?, http://healmyptsd.com/education/what-is-ptsd This was made as a source for the persons with PTSD to “conquer the past and create the future”. This site if for awareness, education, and treatment of the disorder. This particular segment of the website was created o define what PTSD is. *Lawhorne, C, Philpott, D, (2010). Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD, Maryland: Government Institutes The authors wrote this as a source and recovery guide for traumatic brain injury and PTSD. This particular work is formatted for the individual in the military or veteran of combat. They define the disease, outline the risk factors, and delve into the cause and care for the diseases. *Wang, Z. Z., & Xiao, Z. P. (2010). Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Hippocampus Structural Alterations in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: a Brief Review (translated version). East Asian Archives Of Psychiatry, 20(3), 138-144. This article details the implications of using MRI to study PTSD in the brain by studying the hippocampus. Measuring, comparing, and hypothesizing what the effects of PTSD are with the hippocampus and the abnormalities of the hippocampus in those with the disorder. Nutt D. J., Malizia A. L. (2004). Structural and functional brain changes in posttraumatic stress disorder. Pubmed.gov - US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. The correlation between PTSD and three areas of the brain is examined. The change in function between the amygdala and the hippocampus is explored along with the changes in one’s behavior. *Kolassa, I., & Eibert, T. (2007). Structural and functional neuroplasticity in Relation to Traumatic Stress. Current Directions in Physiological Science (Wiley Blackwell), 16(6), 321-325. doi:10.111/j1467-8 The functional alterations in the traumatized brain are discussed. The article explores evidence of brain changes with focus on functional changes in the amygdala, hippocampus, and the medial prefrontal cortex.