Wednesday, June 8, 2016

PTSD versus Resilience

What allows a reported 45 % (according to the article on PTSD in the New England Journal of Medicine – written by Rachel Yehuda, Ph. D.) of rape victims not to experience PTSD? (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

I am fascinated, especially in light of the moving letter from the young woman in the Stanford rape case, that any woman would be able to move on with her life without crushing psychomedical reverb.

I imagine, aside from the 55 percent who experience PTSD, that a significant portion still experience long term debilitating consequences. Depression, nightmares, and health complications aren't restricted to PTSD diagnoses.

I'm reading the Yehuda article as closely as I can. It's dense stuff. 

“Patients with chronic PTSD have increased circulating levels of norepinephrine and increased reactivity of a2-adrenergic receptors. These alterations, in tandem with the finding that thyroid hormone levels are increased in patients with PTSD, may help explain some of the somatic symptoms of the disorder.” (page 110)

Adrena mmph mmph? Adrenergic: working with norepinephrine or adrenaline/epinephrine (adrenaline and epinephrine are the same thing, just different name. Norepinephrine and noradrenaline are the same thing. Thank you for confusing me further … )

Okay, thyroid hormone, I know what that is – that bowtie organ at the back of your throat, without which we have no energy and our brain goes lame. 

Norepinephrine? Stress hormone, neurotransmitter, produced by the adrenal medulla (inner part of the adrenal gland, on top of the kidneys) and in the brain. It affects the fight or flight reflexes in the sympathetic nervous system, accelerating heart rate, restricting blood vessels, raising blood pressure. Wikipedia sources one and two.

“Prospective studies have shown that patients in whom PTSD, or symptoms of PTSD, develop have attenuated increases in cortisol levels in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, which may be related to prior exposure to a traumatic event or other risk factors. They also have higher heart rates in the emergency room and one week later than persons in whom PTSD does not develop. These findings suggest that patients with PTSD have a greater degree of activation of the sympathetic nervous system.” (page 112)

What the above paragraph says to me is that the author is wondering if people who experience PTSD have a history of past trauma.

How do people remain resilient? How do people heal from a traumatic event without developing PTSD?

Page listing symptoms of PTSD here