Roundup

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Published10 Jun 2016
  • Reviewed10 Jun 2016
  • Author Juliet M. Beverly
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
Diagram identifying brain areas and structure

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Extreme stressors such as trauma in combat, being a victim of assault or sexual abuse, or experiencing or witnessing a crime can lead to a form of stress that can last a lifetime.

National Institute of Mental Health, NIH Medical Arts.
Diagram identifying brain areas and structure
Male body showing the brains relative function with other organs

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Making a Difference Today

Anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks, and anger are all common and normal reactions to a stressful experience. But for some people, those feelings don’t go away for months or even years.

Illustration by Lydia Kibiuk. Adapted from Brain Facts, published by the Society for Neuroscience.
Male body showing the brains relative function with other organs
Graph charting PTSD prevalence

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Making a Difference Tomorrow

With continued funding, researchers hope to find ways to diagnose PTSD before symptoms appear, better methods for reducing vulnerability to PTSD, and superior therapy options for resistant cases.

Adapted from The New England Journal of Medicine, 346: 982-987; 2002.
Graph charting PTSD prevalence
Soldier using virtual reality equipment

Fear and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Basic scientific research on the biological basis of fear is unlocking the mystery of post-traumatic stress disorder and suggesting new treatments.

Credit: Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense, Photo by Senior Airman Renae Kleckner.
Soldier using virtual reality equipment
Mice and rats, also known as Mus musculus and Rattus norvegicus

Animal Research Success: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Animal research has shown that long-term stress can damage the brain and has lead to drugs that are used to help treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Credit: Garami A. et al. (2011) Thermoregulatory Phenotype of the Trpv1 Knockout Mouse: Thermoeffector Dysbalance with Hyperkinesis. Journal of Neuroscience 31:1561-1933.
Mice and rats, also known as Mus musculus and Rattus norvegicus
Three soldiers in tan army fatigues.

Traumatic Stress in the Military

In this video, Drs. Robert Heinssen and Farris Tuma discuss research in the areas of traumatic stress reactions and specifically mental health issues among U.S. service members.

Three soldiers in tan army fatigues.
Photo of a solider viewed through the green filter of night vision goggles.

Embedded in Iraq

A discussion between David Finkel, a reporter in Iraq, and a researcher at the National Institutes of Mental Health on mental health issues for some war veterans.

Photo of a solider viewed through the green filter of night vision goggles.

In the United States, about 8 million adults have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after experiencing a terrifying or life-threatening event. Symptoms of PTSD can include intense feelings of fear, anxiety, and flashbacks to the traumatic event. Although most people will experience some kind of trauma in their lifetimes, not all will develop PTSD. So what is research revealing about this disorder, and what does it mean for treatment?

To learn more about PTSD, browse through the images and their descriptions and click on the link in each caption to read the full articles.

Have a question about what you just read in our Roundup?  Submit Your Question

Content Provided By

BrainFacts/SfN