Prevention of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Study of PTSD Shows that it May be Possible to Prevent Before Onset

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is related to anxiety triggered by extreme trauma. PTSD is an affliction related to war veterans but can strike anyone at any time.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety-related disorder that is triggered by extreme trauma, either in people who experience a trauma or see a traumatic event happen to another person. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an affliction that can strike anyone at any time. PTSD is often associated with war veterans, but the disorder can hit anyone who is exposed to trauma or violence.

Post Traumatic Stress Strikes People who Have Experienced Trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that affects as many as one in five of all Americans who are survivors of harrowing experiences. People who have traumatic experiences, such as rape, assault, terrorism or war, can be emotionally paralyzed by the experience.

PTSD can have a profound effect upon the person who suffers from the disorder. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of a traumatic event. Some symptoms include flashbacks, shame, guilt, bad dreams, feeling emotionally numb, irritability, anger, poor relationships, self destructive behavior, hopeless feelings, trouble sleeping, memory problems, trouble concentrating, easily startled or frightened, lack of enjoyment and hallucinations.

PTSD can be treated with psychotherapy and medications. Some of the types of therapy used for PTSD include cognitive therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy.

Researchers Exploring Preventative Measures

Researchers are now exploring methods of preventing PTSD from occurring instead of treating the disorder after it has occurred.

Currently there is no treatment that can lower the chance of getting PTSD but a researcher from Tel Aviv University is looking for a means of preventing the disorder.

Professor Joseph Zohar from the Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University, has discovered that an injection of cortisol shortly after being exposed to a trauma may prevent PTSD. He hopes to start clinical trials on this exploratory research within the next year.

The research was recently published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Researcher Statements

A diagnosis of PTSD is not made until a person has been living with acute stress reaction for one month. By the time the condition is diagnosed it may be too late to counteract the damaging symptoms.

According to a statement Professor Zohar made in a press release, “Ten to twenty percent of all individuals exposed to trauma develop PTSD. The challenge is to try to prevent or reduce these numbers.”

Professor Zohar went on to say that up until now the focus has been upon treating PTSD once it developed. The goal now is to shift the focus to prevention. Research findings have paved the way for preventive treatment via cortisol injections.

PTSD is often experienced among soldiers who have returned from wars, such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a life threatening event can be stricken with the disorder.

People with PTSD may relive the traumatic event with exposed to everyday triggers, such as a sound on television or the smell of a neighbor’s barbecue.

According to researchers, the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, increased immediately after trauma. With time the cortisol level returns to normal.

In people with PTSD, the body’s hormonal system dysfunctions, causing a lower secretion of cortisol after being exposed to trauma. Researchers believe that the underproduction of cortisol increases a person’s vulnerability to PTSD. According to researchers, cortisol may be related to the person’s ability to forget memories of the trauma.

PTSD is a disorder that can have a severe negative effect upon the life of a person. Finding a preventative measure could save the quality of life for many victims of trauma.