What are the Causes of PTSD?
Many people witness catastrophic or traumatic events throughout the course of their lives. Most of them will have a normal level of anxiety related to the event, but will eventually get over it and move on. However, some of those individuals will be affected by a trauma in a clinical way, known as post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
According to Psych Guides, post traumatic stress disorder is triggered by an occasion that causes fear and/or loss of control. Examples of these can include war, a bad car accident, rape, etc. PTSD is characterized by three main types of symptoms.
One frequent symptom of PTSD consists of persistent, unwelcome thoughts of the triggering event. The person has no control over these invading thoughts, as they can occur at any point, often making daily life unbearable.
Another common sign of PTSD is avoidance. The person suffering from PTSD will go out of the way to avoid any reminder of the event, and may end up “avoiding” life in general, becoming withdrawn and numb.
Anxiety is another frequent characteristic of this disorder. Individuals with PTSD may be unable to regulate their emotional responses, suffering from bouts of irritability and/or aggression. This anxiety can also manifest in the form of poor sleep and concentration issues.
What are the Causes of PTSD?
Doctors are unsure as to what exactly causes some people to develop post traumatic stress disorder, while others are able to move on after trauma. However, certain risk factors have been pinpointed, such as genetic history and pre-existing mental illnesses. Other factors that increase the likelihood of PTSD are temperament and previous life experiences.
The context of the triggering event is involved with the development of PTSD. According to Help Guide, traumatic events that are controlled by people are most likely to result in the formation of this disorder. This means that occurrences such as war and murder pose more risk to the development of this mental condition than natural disasters of any kind.
Another relevant factor is the magnitude of the event and the level of violence. Although psychologically affecting, divorce is not as likely to result in PTSD as a car accident, for example.
There have been many recent breakthroughs in brain imaging studies, according to Psych Central, leading to increased knowledge about the biological causes of PTSD. These studies have indicated the hippocampus and the amygdala as playing an important role in the formation of post traumatic stress disorder. The amygdala are made up of two small groups of nuclei located in the temporal lobe of the brain. Part of the limbic system, the amygdala is involved with the fear response. It is hypothesized that the amygdala may be overactive in people suffering from PTSD. This increase in activity leads to a persistent feeling of fear and anxiety.
Also part of the limbic system, the hippocampus is associated with memory formation according to Psych Education. Some brain imaging studies have found decreased volume in the hippocampus of individuals diagnosed with PTSD. This shrinkage is thought to be responsible for some of the symptoms of this disorder, such as memory loss.
While there are no exact causes of the development of PTSD, there is also no cure. While there are both natural and pharmaceutical treatments for PTSD, no true remedy to cure the condition exists. However, there are Los Angeles medical research studies currently being held to test out the latest medication that can hopefully help those suffering. Those that are chosen to participate will receive free medication, lab work and medical care, as well as compensation for participating in the paid research trials.
To learn more about Los Angeles clinical trials for PTSD or other forms of medical issues, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.