PTSD

PTSD nearly doubles infection risk

First-of-its-kind study finds people with PTSD were 1.8 times as likely to have any infection as those without PTSD, ranging from being 1.3 times as likely to have meningitis, to 1.7 times as likely to have influenza, to 2.7 times as likely to have viral hepatitis. A new Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study is the first to examine the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dozens of infection types in a…

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People with PTSD could benefit from fear reducing medication

Post-traumatic stress disorder has proved difficult to treat in the long term. Mixing psychological therapy with a novel drug could help. In June, researchers carried out a review to determine whether medication or psychological therapy was the best treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to a lack of comparative studies, the researchers were unable to form a conclusion. However, a new study aims to see whether a combination of the two treatment forms could be more effective.…

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What is survivor’s guilt?

Survivor’s guilt is when a person has feelings of guilt because they survived a life-threatening situation when others did not. It is a common reaction to traumatic events and a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this article, we explore the phenomenon of survivor’s guilt and look at its symptoms and causes. We also discuss some tips for overcoming survivor’s guilt and explain when to seek professional help. What is survivor’s guilt? Survivor’s guilt…

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What is learned helplessness?

Learned helplessness is a state that occurs after a person has experienced a stressful situation repeatedly. They come to believe that they are unable to control or change the situation, so they do not try — even when opportunities for change become available. Psychologists first described learned helplessness in 1967 after a series of experiments in animals, and they suggested that their findings could apply to humans. Learned helplessness leads to increased feelings of stress and depression. For…

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Psychologists release results of survey of ‘Maria generation’ kids

Psychologists from the Medical University of South Carolina have just published one of the largest post-disaster screening projects in U.S. history. The report, available online through JAMA Network Open, measured the magnitude of Hurricane Maria’s impact on the mental health of children in Puerto Rico. Rosaura Orengo-Aguayo, an assistant professor at MUSC in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, grew up in Puerto Rico and led the study. “More than seven percent of youth, 6,900…

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Brain Biomarkers Could Help Identify Those at Risk of Severe PTSD

A study has shed light on the neurocomputational contributions to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans. The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, revealed distinct patterns for how the brain and body respond to learning danger and safety depending on the severity of PTSD symptoms. These findings could help explain why symptoms of PTSD can be severe for some people but not others. The study was funded in part by the National Institute…

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Over half of former ICU patients in the UK report symptoms of psychological disorders

Patients in the UK who have survived critical illnesses requiring care in an intensive care unit (ICU) frequently report symptoms of anxiety, PTSD and/or depression, according to a study published in open access journal Critical Care. Those reporting symptoms of depression after critical illness appear to be at a greater risk of death. Researchers at the University of Oxford investigated psychological disorders in a cohort of 4,943 of former ICU patients. They found that 46% of…

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Diversity Training Programs Nurture Research Career

“It had never occurred to me to do a Ph.D. It’s nothing I’d ever thought of. I didn’t know anyone who’s done a science Ph.D.,” noted Frances Johnson just weeks before matriculating in a neuroscience doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh. She was just completing a summer stint as a trainee in a neuroscience lab at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Intramural Research Program on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. A…

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PTSD symptoms improve when patient chooses form of treatment

A multiyear clinical trial comparing medication and mental health counseling in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder shows that patients who chose their form of treatment — whether drugs or therapy — improved more than those who were simply prescribed one or the other regardless of the patient’s preference. The study, led by the University of Washington and Case Western Reserve University, was conducted at outpatient clinics in Seattle and Cleveland. It found that both…

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A Shorter—but Effective—Treatment for PTSD

First-line treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often require many treatment sessions and delivery by extensively trained therapists. Now, research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has shown that a shorter therapy may be just as effective as lengthier first-line treatments. The study appeared in the March 2018 issue of JAMA Psychiatry. First-line treatments for PTSD consist of psychotherapies that focus on exposure and/or cognitive restructuring. One such therapy is cognitive processing therapy (CPT), which…

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