The Neuroscientific Case for Facing Your Fears – The Atlantic – MediumWhen someone encounters a new experience — say, a terrifying rabbit — groups of neurons in their brain fire together, the connections between them become stronger, and molecules accumulate at the places where neurons meet. Many scientists believe that these preserved patterns of strengthened connections are the literal stuff of memories — the physical representations of the things we remember. These connected neuron groups are called engrams. When people bring up old memories, the engram neurons fire up again. They also enter a brief period of instability, when the molecules that preserved the connections between them disappear and must be remade. This process, known as reconsolidation, means that humans are partly reconstructing our memories every time they bring them to mind. And it means that the act of recollection creates a window of time in which memories can be updated, and fears can be unlearned.
What's in a name? Researchers track PTSD's many identities during war -- ScienceDailyThe paper revealed that PTSD symptoms were known as shell shock during World War I, and irritable heart or soldier's heart during World War II. The term gross stress reaction was introduced in the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1952, but was omitted in a second edition in 1968 during the Vietnam War. It wasn't until 1980, with the publication of the manual's third edition, that the term PTSD was introduced to describe military trauma and non-war related factors, such as sexual abuse. "PTSD has existed forever," Chekroud said. "It's just a question of what we've been calling it." Chadi Abdallah, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale and the editor of Chronic Stress, said the history of disjointed terminology resulted in a 60-year delay in understanding traumatic symptoms experienced by veterans and others.
Orange essential oil may help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder: Researchers find evidence that essential oil reduces fear, diminishes immune system markers of stress in mice -- ScienceDailyTwelve mice received the tone by itself, 12 mice received water and fear conditioning, and 12 mice received an orange essential oil and fear conditioning. Mice exposed to orange essential oil by passive inhalation showed a significant reduction in freezing behavior and stopped freezing earlier than the water-exposed, fear-conditioned mice. They also showed significant differences in the types of immune cells present after fear conditioning. The immune system contributes to the inflammation associated with chronic stress and fear, so immune cells are a marker of the biochemical pathways involved in PTSD.
REM and PTSDFor example, we know in PTSD, which is perhaps one of the quintessential psychiatric conditions of dysfunctional emotional memory processing, there you see profound disruptions of sleep, including REM sleep. And by trying to ameliorate(ph) or restore that REM sleep, recent findings have demonstrated benefits in terms of clinical PTSD outcome.
Parents of children with serious heart defects may be at risk of PTSD -- ScienceDailyHealth professionals know that mental health issues in parents can lead to long-term cognitive, health and behavioral troubles in their children. Researchers reviewed published data from 10 countries. Among parents of children with critical congenital heart defects, researchers found: Up to 30 percent had symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD, with more than 80 percent showing significant symptoms of trauma; 25 percent to 50 percent reported elevated symptoms of depression, anxiety or both; and 30 percent to 80 percent reported experiencing severe psychological distress; In comparison, the prevalence of PTSD in the U.S. general population is 3.5 percent, with 18 percent meeting criteria for any anxiety disorder in the last year, and 9.5 percent meeting criteria for any mood disorder.
Online Friendships Can't Replace In-Person Connection -- Science of UsIn researching his book Tribe, Sebastian Junger found that “lack of social support is twice as reliable at predicting PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] as the severity of the trauma [one experiences] itself.”
When alcohol or drugs are used to manage PTSD symptoms, the symptoms of the disorder only become more severe. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol can worsen depression and anxiety and interfere with normal sleep patterns.
For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective treatment for PTSD and has the fewest side-effects, yet many psychologists do not use this method. Baker and colleagues cite one study in which only 30 percent of psychologists were trained to perform CBT for PTSD and only half of those psychologists elected to use it. That means that six of every seven sufferers were not getting the best care available from their clinicians. Furthermore, CBT shows both long-term and immediate benefits as a treatment for PTSD; whereas medications such as Paxil have shown 25 to 50 percent relapse rates.