The new research about the Psychological and Neural basis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been published in Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS), by Dr. Stephen Maren. The professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Science has published research about PTSD after studying areas of the brain that regulate emotion, fear, anger, and stress.
What is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that develops after a person is exposed to a traumatic event. Those events could be anything from sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats that can occur on a person’s life. Some of the symptoms of PTSD are disturbing thoughts, feelings, and dreams related to the events; an increased fight-or-flight response; mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues; alterations of thoughts or feelings in a person. Those symptoms could last for more than a month after the event happened.
What Has the Study Revealed?
Fear, stress and other factors can be an issue for those with PTSD. Also, fear relapse can represent a significant problem for individuals that suffer from stress and trauma disorders. In Dr. Maren study, neurons from the brain had been examined to see what cause fear relapse. Moreover, what influence has stress on these fear-reducing regions into the brain? Those new data had revealed significant insights into the pathophysiology of PTSD, that could help predict and prevent fear relapse.
However, the study shows that indeed stress increases the activity of fear-promoting regions of the prefrontal cortex. Also, at the same time, it reduces the activity in fear-reducing neighboring areas. Having this shift in the brain makes the activity of neurons to increase, and the norepinephrine is released. It’s also called the fight-or-flight neurotransmitter. Maybe some new treatments will be created to help to reduce the effects of stress on the brain.