What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological reaction that occurs after an extremely stressful event, such as physical violence or military combat. Those suffering from PTSD have recurring memories of the stressful event and are anxious or scared even in the absence of danger. Flashbacks and nightmares are common symptoms as well. 

Recent Posts on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

There’s No Reason to Celebrate Trauma

By Marty Babits on November 16, 2015 The Middle Ground
There have been breakthroughs in how we understand and treat trauma.

Building Resilience After Trauma: Lessons from Chile

Don’t go it alone. Create order out of the chaos. Nurture hope. Commit for the long-term because recovery takes time. And reclaim your dignity through helping others. Wise advice whatever the trauma, wherever one lives.

The Sun Also Rises

By Marty Babits on November 14, 2015 The Middle Ground
Remembering "The Sun Also Rises."

Officers with PTSD at Greater Risk for Police Brutality

PTSD may lead to deadly overreactions by police officers.

Ending the Nightmares

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 Media Spotlight
Studies of veterans show that they may experience a wide range of PTSD symptoms, including nightmares. Some surveys reveal that more than half of all participants report their sleep as being "bad" or "very bad" though few report having any problems before being deployed.

Honoring Fallen Comrades of War in Indochina

By Eric Newhouse on November 09, 2015 Invisible Wounds
Stuart Allen Beckley, a retired lieutenant colonel, restored his own sense of honor by honoring comrades in arms who died in Indochina. His monument on a remote ridgetop in in Colorado, was largely unknown until a group of bikers found it recently and posted this image on YouTube.

How Shall I Handle a Possibly False Narrative of My Life?

What to do when you don't trust your mother's narrative of your life.

Five Common Misconceptions About Trauma

Contrary to popular opinion, experiencing growth after trauma is far more common than PTSD. The new science of post-traumatic growth has found in thousands of studies that up to 90 percent of trauma survivors eventually attest to a renewed zest for life, major empathetic growth, and increased emotional maturity.

PTSD: How this Drug and Talk Therapy Can Help

A well-known medication plus systematic talk therapy has reduced symptoms of PTSD. This can potentially reduce disturbing memories after they have been reactivated in a controlled therapeutic manner. Other drugs might help as well.

Does Self-Acceptance lead to Growth following Adversity?

New research on self-acceptance suggests it makes a difference in how we cope with trauma

Underage Models Need Federal Protection and Regulation

Girls subject to high stress & sexual harassment in an unregulated environment

Trauma Destroys Time

Because trauma so profoundly modifies the universal or shared structure of temporality, the traumatized person quite literally lives in another kind of reality, an experiential world felt to be incommensurable with those of others. This felt incommensurability contributes to a profound sense of alienation and estrangement from other human beings.

Why Do Clinicians Need to Know About Nutrition?

Every person can benefit from a holistic approach to restore mental health without the use of pharmaceuticals. The question the clinician must answer is: Who will choose to or be able to benefit from this approach?

How to Move on From a Seemingly Horrific Incident

By Gregg McBride on October 10, 2015 The Weight-ing Game
Whatever you've survived, the key words are "You survived." Yes, you might have a black eye—or other forms of emotional or physical scarring as a result. But don't let a horrific incident (or incidences) take away your joie de vivre. This life is for living. And no person or incident can take that away from you permanently—unless you let them.

Trigger Warnings and Human Sexuality Education

Sexuality Education Needs Warning Labels?

Journalists Can Be Nearly as Prone to PTSD as Combat Vets

By Eric Newhouse on October 06, 2015 Invisible Wounds
Recent studies show that war correspondents and photojournalists covering combat may have five times the normal rate of PTSD. Some national and international news organizations are now offering counseling to employees who are having trouble processing what they've seen on the job.

The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, Part 2

By Shaili Jain M.D. on September 30, 2015 The Aftermath of Trauma
Last week, I interviewd Dr. Charles Marmar about the implications of his National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS) and about his 40 year career as a PTSD researcher. Here is the second half of our interview.

Living a Meaningful Life

Although we might think happiness – or the pursuit of it – will make us feel better about ourselves and our lives, research indicates that it’s actually finding greater meaning in our lives that, at the end of the day – or our lives – is more fulfilling.

One Easy Question Can Help Break the Anxiety Cycle

By Christopher Bergland on September 29, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Researchers have identified that asking yourself one easy question can help break the anxiety cycle.

Circadian Rhythm, Light and PTSD

By Leslie E. Korn Ph.D. on September 26, 2015 Rhythms of Recovery
PTSD, chronic pain (fibromyalgia), and sleep problems are all characterized by circadian rhythm imbalance. In order to understand more fully the disruption of rhythm and time perception caused by trauma, it is useful to explore the role of circadian rhythm, light, and the pineal gland.

Foundation Helps Vets "Dress for Success" in Job Interviews

By Eric Newhouse on September 26, 2015 Invisible Wounds
Kewon Potts, a Navy veteran, was one of 25-plus vets being given new suits, dress shirts and ties this month to wear to job interviews. The Save-a-Suit foundation and its founder, Scott Sokolowski, believe it's important to dress for success because it improves the interviewer's critical first impression and builds the vets' confidence.

The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, Part 1

By Shaili Jain M.D. on September 23, 2015 The Aftermath of Trauma
Recently, I spoke to Dr. Marmar about the implications of the NVVLS study and about his 40 year career as a PTSD researcher.

Optimism and Anxiety Change the Structure of Your Brain

By Christopher Bergland on September 23, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists have identified that adults who have a larger orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) tend to be more optimistic and less anxious.

What Do Hypoactive Sexual Desire and PTSD Have in Common?

By Jeffrey Lieberman M.D. on September 22, 2015 Shrink Speak
Science and social pressures influence how and when drugs are developed by the pharmaceutical industry.

How Hurricane Katrina Affected One Journalist's Life

By Eric Newhouse on September 09, 2015 Invisible Wounds
My friend and colleague Charlotte Porter finally has written about how devastated she was after living through Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. It's a reminder that journalists are humans who are affected by natural disasters. News organizations need to provide counseling, as needed, for their war correspondents and journalists covering natural disasters.

Psychological Disorders in Animals: A Review of What We Know

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 09, 2015 Animal Emotions
An essay titled "Many animals can become mentally ill" published in BBC Earth summarizes what we know about mental illness in animals. It concludes, "But far from being something limited to pampered modern humans, mental illness can strike many kinds of animals and seems to have been around for hundreds of millions of years." I highly recommend this fascinating essay.

The Link Between Racism and PTSD

For African Americans, the experience of trauma extends beyond what we see on the news to the everyday challenges Black people face with omnipresent racism, leading to what’s known as “race-based stress and trauma.”

Cyberstalking Yet to Be Taken as Seriously as It Should

Cyberstalking poses a significant threat to victims' physical and emotional safety

Prions, Memory and PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been described as a disorder of memory. It has become quite apparent that there are two types of memory in PTSD. The work of Eric R. Kandel forms the basis for much of what we understand about how memories are formed.