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A 44-year-old member asked:

What is the biological reason that causes ptsd afte a person has experienced a traumatic event?

4 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Susan Uhrich
Psychiatry 36 years experience
In a sense,: Ptsd is the natural outcome of being faced with a trauma you cannot deal with at the time. So it becomes compartmentalized.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
HUGE question: Researchers are asking this also, since not everyone exposed to trauma develops ptsd. People abused as children, or who've been repeatedly exposed to life-threatening situations, are at greater risk for developing ptsd. Victims of trauma from physical & sexual assault face the greatest risk for ptsd. Also, the support people receive (or don't receive) may determine outcome & severity of symptoms.
Dr. Richard Levenson
Clinical Psychology 32 years experience
PTSD: One biological explanation is that the traumatic event is stamped in by an increase in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Brain physiology: It is complex. The amygdala is in hyperdrive. This leads to hyperarousal & often aggression. The medial frontal cortex of the brain is not in full gear & thus is not properly modulating affect that is limbic & amgydala driven. The hippocampus is functioning sub-optimally which effects the storage & retrieval of memories. Ptsd causes significant changes in brain physiology.

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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