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

Prions, Memory and PTSD

By Shaili Jain M.D. on August 26, 2015 in The Aftermath of Trauma
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 in 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

By Leslie E. Korn Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 in Rhythms of Recovery
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

By Christopher Bergland on August 17, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
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 in 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 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 in 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.

The Benefits of a Trauma-Sensitive Approach to Healing Shame

I have created a compassion cure program for former victims of trauma that includes: self-understanding, self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-kindness, and self-encouragement. This article focuses on the first of these five components of self-compassion.

Can Abuse Be Invisible?

By Craig Malkin PhD on July 12, 2015 in Romance Redux
All abuse has a legacy. If we want to end emotional abuse, we can start by educating people about what it is and how it works.

How the Brain Changes in Response to PTSD

If you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, seek help. There are quality treatments available that will help you to live a fuller, more meaningful life.

Prescription Drugs Helped Re-boot My System

By Eric Newhouse on July 10, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
From personal experience, I'm learning that prescription drugs can be useful in the short term to allow the body to re-boot itself. And I suspect the same may be true for those suffering from PTSD.

Cortisol and Oxytocin Hardwire Fear-Based Memories

New research shows that the "stress hormone" cortisol and the "love hormone" oxytocin can create a double whammy when it comes to hardwiring anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress?

Changing the name of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) to post traumatic stress (by dropping the word "disorder") is a movement by government and military to destigmatize this condition. However, this idea misses the point. PTSD is not a normal reaction to trauma which post-traumatic stress implies, but an actual disorder with serious symptoms and disability.

Trauma and the Freeze Response: Good, Bad, or Both?

Almost everyone is familiar with the fight-flight response—your reaction to a stimulus perceived as an imminent threat to your survival. However, less well-known is the fight-flight-freeze response, which adds a crucial dimension to how you’re likely to react when the situation confronting you overwhelms your coping capacities and leaves you paralyzed in fear.

Bill Cosby: Patriarch to Predator

Separating reality from TV fiction

Pet Sematary, Cujo, and Disaster Psychology

Psychological lessons from a chilling incident during our Maine vacation.

Understanding and Working with Flashbacks, Part Two

Focusing on the clinical strategy of actually using a flashback experience to therapeutically “re-story” a traumatic event in an effort to help clients resolve it and deepen their healing.

Developments in the Treatment of PTSD Nightmares, Part 2

Two weeks ago, I posted part 1 of my interview with Dr. Murray Raskind about his pioneering work in the field of PTSD and the treatment of nightmares. Here is the second half of our interview.

Exploring Post Traumatic Growth

In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about post-traumatic stress, or PTSD, and the negative effects it can have on a person’s overall health and wellness. PTSD is triggered in response to either experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, particularly if that event is life threatening

Fixing the Neural Circuit to Combat Mental Illness

By Julie K Hersh on June 29, 2015 in Struck By Living
A trip to Stanford gives a look into the work of Dr. Amit Etkin and Stanford's NeuroCircuit Group.

Taboo of Male Rape Keeps Victims Silent

The stigmatization of male rape victims is harsh, such that survivors may not identify as victims, or realize that they have experienced a sexual assault.

Understanding and Working With Flashbacks, Part One

Since June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month, it seems relevant to focus on the common but debilitating symptom of flashbacks that so often accompanies a PTSD diagnosis.