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PTSD is a mental health condition that may involve disturbances in threat perception, threat sensitivity, self-image, and emotional functioning. It can cause serious disruption in the ability to have healthy, satisfying relationships or tolerate life’s uncertainties, failures, and rejections without excess distress. It can also cause phobias, sleep disturbance, negative mood, anxiety, and attention/concentration difficulties that interfere with academic or career success. Research in neuroscience suggests impaired functioning in brain areas responsible for threat detection/response and emotion regulation account for many PTSD symptoms.
Research suggests that the brains of people with PTSD differ from brains of those without PTSD in two main ways:
- They are hyperactive to threat (amygdala).
- They have difficulty regulating or damping down anxiety and anger (medial PFC).
Effective treatments for PTSD seem to address these brain dysfunctions by either decreasing the reactivity of the amygdala or increasing the ability of the PFC to calm it down.
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