PTSD in the Brain

By: Josh Mascarenhas

Why I chose this Topic

I chose this topic because memory loss and amnesia in general interest me. My research may help me better understand and further my knowledge about amnesia and how intense trauma can effect memory. It may also help my peers also understand and perhaps learn about something they didn't know could happen.

But what is PTSD...?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic stress disorder, is severe anxiety brought on by experiencing a extremely stressful situation or psychological trauma. In some situations, in an effort to self help, the brain may purposely block those stressful memories from entering the subconscious, causing amnesia. Usually, when trying to remember, unexplained, intense flashbacks or nightmares occur. It could last anywhere from a few hours to years.

In the Brain?

Memories of just before the trauma are often completely lost, due to the brain's psychological repression of the unpleasant memories, and because memories may be incompletely processed. There is also evidence showing that traumatic stress events can lead to reduction of the volume of the hippocampus, causing it's memory retaining capabilities to be damaged.

Research and Psychologists

A survey for Vietnam Veterans 40 years after the war ended, has been done by the National center of PSTD. The survey showed that those who were teenagers or young men when they served in Vietnam had poorer mental health than any other war veterans surveyed.

Interesting stuff

Traumatic stress is actually not a medical term, but a common term for reactive anxiety and depression.

Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts.

Certain things can trigger a persons PTSD, such as words, food, videos, and special events related to the original event.