Here’s What We’ve Learned From Studying PTSD

Dealing with PTSD can be tough, depending on what event caused your PTSD, you may have any number of symptoms associated with it. For veterans with PTSD, loud noises and/or sudden movements can be enough to send you into an anxiety ridden panic attack or heightened state of alert that’s just uncomfortable.

Scientists have been working hard, studying the scans of more than 70 veterans with PTSD and what they found out, was quite interesting! The veterans in the study, have all been through a traumatic experience while deployed to Afghanistan and/or Iraq. While some of the veterans have a diagnosis, some don’t.

Study participants were given the opportunity to play a game along the lines of gambling where they would have monetary losses or gains based on choices they made. With a computer system, scientists are able to see how the brain learns. With this system, scientists found that the more common thought, that people with PTSD are disrupted when they see/hear/feel triggers, was somewhat debunked.

Instead, in response to stimuli, such as unexpected fireworks going off, makes people with PTSD pay more attention. Because they’ve got an over-estimation of danger, they’re paying more attention to the situation. While loud noises or unexpected events will trigger anyone to pay attention, people who have PTSD were shown to give it extra attention to detail. Scientist speculate this is in part, because in the brains of individuals with PTSD, the noise or unexpected event is linked to life or death.

If you have PTSD, we’d love to hear from you. Do you find that you are more stimulated than other due to triggers, do you feel like your awareness becomes heightened? If so, how are you able to cope with that and calm yourself down?

Reference
Virginia Tech. “Scientist Find Heightened Attention to Surprise in Veterans with PTSD”. Science Daily. (website). January 2018
  • 1 Commentby Likes|Date
  • wondering how heightened attention to detail would make it challenging for someone with PTSD to keep a job... is it once their nervous system is in that "fight or flight" mode, is it just so hard to come down??
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