Understanding Dysfunctional Fear and Emotional Processes May Improve Treatment for PTSD
Dr. Ressler notes that patients with PTSD have “characteristic reexperiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms,” which can persist for months or years after exposure to traumatic events. Posttraumatic stress disorder affects about 6 percent of the population, but the rate is much higher in groups exposed to severe trauma, such as combat veterans, refugees, and assault victims.
Although PTSD is at least partly genetic, it also depends on personal history of trauma in childhood and adulthood, as well as psychological factors linked to mediation of fear and regulation of emotions. “Therefore, PTSD is among the most likely of psychiatric disorders to be understood from the perspective of environmental influences interacting with biological vulnerability,” according to Dr. Ressler. The special issue provides expert updates in four key areas related to the development, diagnosis, and management of PTSD