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

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.

Memories of Trauma

By David Myers on August 26, 2015 Talk Psych
Imagine yourself as a traumatized passenger on a transatlantic flight that has run out of fuel and is seemingly destined to crash in the ocean. Such was the real life experience of psychologist Margaret MacKinnon, who, with colleagues, later compared passengers' memories with actual flight events. Their findings teach us a lesson about human memory.

Five Steps to Improved Parenting

This single father is raising two stellar teenagers on his own using a technique he calls "The 4 C's". No small feat for any parent, much less one who suffers from service-related post-traumatic stress due to 3 tours in the Middle East. We can all learn from what he has to share.

Media Fail to Respect Crime Victims

Repeated crime exposure through excessive media coverage re-traumatizes victims.

How to Balance Rhythms to Enhance Trauma Treatment

The major rhythmic disruption in PTSD and complex trauma is circadian rhythm; the 24 hr. sleep/wake cycle that follows the dark/light cycle of the sun’s rising and setting.

The Rwandan Genocide

What were you doing on the afternoon of April 7, 1994? You probably have no idea – unless you were getting married, lost a loved one or experiencing another major life event. If you were in Rwanda, you may have been watching your mother, father, brother or sister being slaughtered and expecting to be next.

Unconscious Memories Hide In the Brain but Can Be Retrieved

Researchers at Northwestern University have identify a unique brain mechanism used to store and retrieve unconscious memories.

The Powerful and Lasting Effects of Sexual Betrayal

Is your spouse a sex addict? Do you feel like you are losing your mind?

Agri-therapy Helps Vets With PTSD

By Eric Newhouse on August 12, 2015 Invisible Wounds
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Eric Grandon still suffers from PTSD, but he's finding that farming keeps him focused. His goal is to use his farm to help other vets find peace after coming home from war.

Disability and Humanity in Therapy

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on August 12, 2015 In Therapy
How do physical disabilities impact psychological treatment? How do they impact the therapist? Dr. Deborah Buckwalter shares her thoughts in this Moments of Meaning video.

Too Much Tragedy Making You “Heartworn”—Weary of Compassion?

Sad and tragic headlines assault us daily. How do we keep our compassion safe from fatigue?

PTSD – Can These Two Little-Known Treatments Help?

Learn about the two little-known treatments that can help with your PTSD

Handcuff an 8 Year Old

By Kathryn Seifert on August 05, 2015 Stop The Cycle
Should school resource officers be handcuffing children? Most certainly it will be needed until there are sufficient behavoral health services in schools for children with special needs to provide intensive daily services for the most at risk youth and include families in the intervention.

Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In

Both psychiatrists and psychologists devote their careers to helping people with mental health issues. As promising as neuroscience may be for helping researchers find clues to the brain, the real key to treatment lies in therapy, not drugs. Your best bet is to explore all options when you or your loved ones seek help.

Can Using Xanax When Flying Cause PTSD?

“We barely made it. After we landed, they closed the airport. Thank God I had my Xanax to get me through it.” Though life-threatening events happen rarely in aviation, they happen routinely in the Xanax-fueled mind of an anxious flier. Threats to one's life, whether real or imagination-based, can lead to PTSD.