Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Brain Function

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a widely talked about topic, what with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still going on. Soldiers returning from deployment are at a higher risk due to the events that they live through while overseas. With the topic being as well-known as it is due to the wars, it’s no wonder that it has caused quite a push in the psychology/neuropsychology field to fully understand what PTSD really is and where it lies within the person. To figure out where within the brain PTSD actually effect lies the clue as to how to understand it better and possibly find a way to make treatment better and hopefully more specialized to the individual instead of a blanket diagnosis and treatment.
The research conducted thus far has indicated that there are three main areas in the brain that are affected the most by PTSD. The areas affected that will be discussed are the hippocampus, amygdala, and the anterior cingulate cortex. Each area mentioned have been hypothesized about and studied. PTSD does not just affect soldiers, so research has been done with people that have survived sarin attacks, police officers, trapped coal miners, sexual and physical abuse survivors. Keeping the pool of subjects studied wide and varied reflects better on the population as a whole, as anyone can fall prey to PTSD. Also, with the subjects varying it allows researchers to get a more broad view of the disorder and if people are pre-disposed to getting PTSD or not.

Diagnostic Criteria
To study PTSD and the brain, one must look at the criteria of PTSD and how it affects the individual day to day. Since there are several parts of the brain affected by the disorder, it makes sense that the regions affected correlate ...

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