PTSD is an increasingly common psychiatric condition that has many origins and manifestations. As with most psychiatric conditions there has been a long of history of scientists searching for some physical explanation, or at least an underlying substrate for these conditions. Everything from schizophrenia to criminal behavior has been studied. PTSD is no different.
Now a new study from Duke University, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry last November, sheds new light on possible anatomical changes in those susceptible to developing PTSD. This alteration lies deep in the brain in the hippocampus/amygdala complex, which is part of the larger Limbic System, areas of the brain associated with emotions, stress responses, learning, memory, socialization, and many other things. The researchers studied 200 combat veterans and found that PTSD sufferers tended to have smaller amygdalar and hippocampal volumes as compared to “normal” subjects.
Does this mean we now have a test for determining who is vulnerable to developing PTSD? Not yet. But this study is a step in that direction.
My first Dub Walker thriller, STRESS FRACTURE, dealt with PTSD and its treatment.