Biology may make certain PTSD patients unresponsive to behavioral therapy

How well-connected a particular brain network is, and how successfully memories are formed, may determine which patients with post-traumatic stress disorder benefit from behavioral therapy, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found.

The finding could indicate a biological subtype of PTSD whose clinical relevance only becomes obvious when patients undergo treatment, the researchers said. Furthermore, by replicating their results across a diverse range of patients, the researchers were able to clearly and objectively characterize a biological signature in PTSD patients who differ in their response to behavioral therapy.  more

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How I Live With PTSD, An Invisible Illness Most People Don’t Know I Have

I don’t let very many people into my apartment. It’s partially because I’m an introvert and like my alone time, but it’s mostly because I struggle to maintain a level of cleanliness fit for company. There are usually a couple dirty dishes lying around, I haven’t vacuumed in a while, throw blankets are tossed haphazardly onto the couch. I keep a very “lived in” space compared to my more put-together friends. It’s an image that is totally at odds with what people see when I’m out in public, which is this powerhouse of a woman who’s totally got her life together. But both people are me; I just have PTSD, an invisible illness that can sometimes make everyday tasks too overwhelming to handle.

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is most commonly associated with military veterans, but anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event can develop the condition, according to Mayo Clinic. Dr. Shainna Ali, licensed mental health counselor, educator, and clinical supervisor, tells Bustle that trauma itself is subjective, meaning that something might be traumatic for one person but not traumatic for another person. For me, that traumatic experience was repeated sexual assault when I was a teenager.  more

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The Battle Over Brett Kavanaugh Has Ended. But the Pain His Hearing Triggered Has Not

Since #MeToo went viral, survivors have been inundated with stories of sexual assault and harassment on a weekly — and for some stretches, daily — basis. But nothing had evoked memories and pains of past traumas in some survivors, and particularly women, as much as the respective testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Senators, television personalities and people across the country heard stories from loved ones that they had never been told before. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) saw a 388% increase in traffic on its hotline from the Thursday of the hearing to the following Sunday. That Friday was the busiest day in the organization’s 24-year history. No other single #MeToo moment appeared to precipitate that sort of deluge.

Survivors with histories of sexual abuse are at higher risk of exhibiting PTSD symptoms whenever a #MeToo story hits the news, according to Freyd. But such allegations are often blips in the 24-hour news cycle. The Kavanaugh story dragged on, with an apparent strain on many survivors that the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby allegations did not inspire — and it will continue to do so as he takes his seat on the Supreme Court. Experts say that all that has happened could have lasting effects on the psychology of many victims of sexual assault.  more

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Examining Trauma & HEROES IN CRISIS: What is PTSD and How Can a Comic Book Help?

When writer Tom King first introduced the concept of Heroes in Crisis to the public, he framed the story idea around the perception that a whole generation of Americans are dealing with the aftermath of trauma.

“I want to speak about, and to, this New War generation, the millions of people who have fought bravely overseas and have come home to try to return to their normal lives,” King said in a press conference at San Diego Comic Con.

King is a former counterterrorism  operations officer with the CIA who experienced after-effects of his traumatic experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he wants to use DC heroes to tell the stories of the people who are dealing with the mental effects of trauma. “I want to talk about their hopes, their pains, their triumphs.”  more

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Be Contagious

PTSD sometimes spreads from trauma victims to the people who care for them, including rescue workers, spouses and even therapists

IN BRIEF

  • When caregivers, rescue workers or family members attend to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder who has suffered a horrible experience, a number of them develop “secondary” PTSD, without themselves having witnessed the traumatic event.
  • Stories of trauma, it seems, can become etched into memory as if they were the hearer’s own experiences. This memory transfer may occur because the brain regions that process real and imagined experiences overlap considerably.
  • The more that caregivers or family members empathize with a victim and the less able they are to maintain emotional distance, the more likely it is that they will experience secondary trauma.  more
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‘Cry Havoc!’: Onstage ‘Personal Journey’ Portrays Need to Help Vets ‘Un-wire from War’

Army veteran Stephan Wolfert will present “Cry Havoc,” the story of his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder during performances and workshops that begin tonight at Fort Greely and continue into the weekend in Fairbanks. Wolfert’s a classically trained actor who says he found relief from PTSD on stage, especially when performing Shakespeare.

“Now is the winter of our discontent …”

That’s the opening line from Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” the story of the conniver who became King of England after murdering and imprisoning his rivals. It’s not an uplifting story, but Stephan Wolfert says seeing it at a low point in his life helped inspire him to pick up the pieces, turn himself around and tell his story, on stage.

“It’s a personal journey from being in the military, having a horrific experience after the first Gulf War was over – a buddy of mine was killed in training at Fort Irwin, California. I lost it – I can say that now – I didn’t know what was going on,” he said in an interview with New York public-radio member station WSKG.  more

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I’m a Veteran With PTSD. The Medication I Take Makes Dating Difficult.

She was a cat lover with cotton-candy-colored hair and obnoxious tastes in music but similar politics to mine. While texting on Tinder, she suggested I might get to play with her kitty. We agreed that we would take her cat out to the park some time but that we would start with dinner and a drink. There were no other hints to me that anything thrilling might happen beyond my riding my motorcycle from Denver to Boulder for the meeting.

Sitting together at an Italian restaurant, we got past the cat conversation and progressed to politics and music, jokes and laughter. We were communicating freely and enjoying each other’s company — pretty much everything I wanted out of a first date.

As the waitress picked up the check, my date invited me back to her place. I went. I still didn’t think anything was going to happen until we were going to settle in to watch a movie and she changed her clothes right in front of me.

She asked to see my tattoos — I’ve got a lot of ink, even for a Marine — so that happened too. But not everything happened, and probably not as much as she expected. I explained about the injuries, the PTSD, the medication. She was nice about it. We eagerly agreed on a second date. “We should do this again, and finish what we started,” she said. “If we don’t, it’ll bug me. Like I’m not hot enough for you, or something.” I told her she was gorgeous and that next time would be better.  more

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