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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders Journal Review

Post-TraumaticStress Disorders Journal Review

Post-TraumaticStress Disorders Journal Review

Everyperson experiences some terrifying ordeal in life and at differentdegree. The human body is made in a way that it has a mechanism fordefending itself from the danger or avoiding it. The “fight orflight” response is a healthy mechanism for protecting the bodyfrom any harm. Never the less, when the threat is prolonged orextreme, it damages or changes the body’s normal reaction todanger. People who have had encountered a distressing experience inthe past may feel frightened or stressed even they are no longerexposed to any form of risk. Such a condition is referred to as PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some of the common traumaticincidences include mugging, torture, rape, child abuse, caraccidents, bombing, plane crash, train wreck, earthquakes, flooding,being held in captivity or kidnapped. Studies have proved that noteveryone who witnesses or experiences traumatic events develops PTSD.Whether a person develops PTSD depends on the person’s uniqueability to manage stress and the availability of support from family,friends and professionals following a traumatic event (Al-Shagran etal. 2015). PTSD based studies are significant in that they shed lightin making people understand what it is, how it develops, the damagesit causes, how it can be prevented as well as how it can be managed.


Post-TraumaticStress Disorders

Kremen(2013) conducted to review research papers on twin studies ofPost-Traumatic Stress Disorders. The study focused on how twindesigns could be used to differentiate between vulnerability factorsand the consequences of the disorder. The study targeted classicaltwin design as well as on co-twin control design.


Atotal of 52 research journals based on post-traumatic stress disorderwere analyzed.

TheResearch Methodology

Theresearch method that was used involved the analysis of the studyfindings, the methodology applied, and population size of variousstudies based on PTSD.


Theclassical twin studies indicated that genetic are significantdeterminants of PTSD development following exposure to stressfulsituations. Also, the studies also showed that environmental factorsalso play a major role in the development of the condition. Thestudies also indicated that variation in exposure to stressfulcondition (what is clearly considered as an environmental factor), isto some extent accounted for by genetic factors. Classical studiesalso pointed out that there is considerable overlap of geneticfactors predisposing one to depression, other anxiety disorders anddependency with PTSD.

Co-Twinstudies, on the other hand, indicated that some significant featuresof PTSD-like hippocampal volume reduction, cognitive impairments arepre-existing risk factors for PTSD and not consequences of thecondition. Another finding from these studies is that aspects ofpsycho-physiological responding, brain electrophysiology, pain andbrain metabolism are consequences of PTSD. Another study finding wasthat some cognitive processes might go through further acquiredimpairments as a result of being exposed to trauma. This means thatabnormalities may be features and risk factors that continue to beaggravated post-onset (Kremen et al. 2012).


Oneof the limitations of this study is that most co-twin PTSD controlstudies have been small and also are from the same twin registryconsisting of the middle-aged male veteran population. As a result,replication and extension of the study findings, especially inyounger individuals and women is questionable. Another limitation isthat it is not possible to identify the specific genes thatpredispose a person to PTSD.

NeuroimagingFindings in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Hull(2012) conducted a study to find out whether neuroimaging studies hadidentified functional and structural changes that are unique to PTSD.


Inthis study, research articles were identified by the use of specificand general medical traumatic stress databases as well as papersearches of the current and other secondary sources.


Neuroimagingstudies based on PTSD journals were searched using literaturesearches of Psychlit, Medline, Embase as well as PILOTS (PublishedInternational Literature on Traumatic Stress). 30 published reportswere identified for the study of which 18 of them were based on brainfunctioning in posttraumatic stress disorder, and the other 12 werebased on brain structure in post-traumatic stress disorder.


Computedtomography studies were initiated to detect brain abnormalities inposttraumatic stress disorders. Eight reports on magnetic resonanceimaging studies based on PTSD have been made. Various studies on thebrain structure have demonstrated that hippocampus is involved inchronic PTSD. The finding that was most replicated in most studieswas that in chronic PTSD, there is hippocampal atrophy and thathippocampal volume reduction may limit the proper evaluation and thecategorization of experience. The replicated localized purposefulchanges include raised activation of the amygdala after the symptomsare provoked and reduced activity of Broca’s area.

Studiesbased on the brain function in PTSD suggested that the administrationof yohimbine correlated with an elevated level of anxiety. Patientswith induced panic indicated a significantly lower neocortical andcampal metabolism which is an indication of enhanced release ofnoradrenalin. Studies that used PET to provoke symptoms indicatedthat there were changes in performance of cognitive tasks. Thestudies that applied SPECT to provoke symptoms indicated that thereis an increase in regional cerebral blood flow.


Neuroimagingin post-traumatic stress disorder is still in its infancy, and theresults are far from uniform although the degree of consensus isencouraging. Another challenge in studies based on trauma has manychallenges such as choosing the study population. Another challengeis that triggers that cause disturbing thoughts or flashbacks oftraumatic events are personal and in most cases idiosyncratic. Thismeans that the induced paradigms should reflect this since failure todo so, then the research might be studying a different phenomenonaltogether.

Post-TraumaticStress Disorder of Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Purposeof the Study

Al-Shagranet al. (2015) aimed at finding out the extent of PTSD experienced bySyrian Refugees as a result of a war. Another objective of the studywas to find out whether there was any significant difference in thedegree of PTSD among the refugees depending on factors like maritalstatus, gender, education level as well as other factors related toPTSD. The study also aimed at finding out whether there was anysignificant disparity in the level of PTSD among the participants asa result of being affected by war directly or having a close memberof the family being a victim of the war. Lastly, the research aimedat finding out whether there was any noteworthy difference in theextent of PTSD among participants as a result of being exposed towatching or hearing about the war or losing a family member,experiencing terminal illness, or accident, facing death threat,divorced, being touched or robbed.


Thestudy population was a total of 155 Syrian refugees identified fromtwo refugee camps. 53.3% (83) of the participants were male while therest 46.5% (72) were females. All the participants were Syrians whohad been displaced by the war they had either experienced the wareither first hand or their loved ones were victims of the war. 98participants were married while 57 were single. Those who werethrough with their high school education or below were 118 whilethose who had advanced beyond high school were 37. 46 participantswere employed while 109 were unemployed.


Thequantitative research methodology was used in the study. The maininstrument that was used in the study was the Likert-type scalequestionnaire.


Thestudy findings were that the refugees who had experienced traumaticevents had suffered more. Another finding was that women experiencedmore effects of PTSD as compared to men. The level of education andmarital status were also found to have some influences on the levelof PTSD. The participants with a higher level of education and thosewho had spouses were more affected by traumatic incidences ascompared to the singles and those with lower levels of education. Another finding from the study was that those who had witnessed,heard of war, were exposed to more trauma, who had relatives who werehurt in the war experienced higher levels of PTSD.


Thelimitation of this study is that the study population was small withonly 155 participants and that they were all exposed to a similartraumatic experience (war). Extrapolating the study results may betherefore questionable.


Ionce experienced a traumatic situation where I witnessed my bestfriend dying after his throat was hacked. The experience was sotraumatizing, and initially, I experienced extreme fears afterflashbacks of the incidence. The study on Syrian refugees indicatedthat people who have been exposed to frightening experiences are morelikely to develop the disorder. However, the presence of support fromfamily members and professional diminish the effects of the disorder.The support I received from family members, friends and counselorshave helped me to overcome the fear irrespective of the constanttrigger in my work as a surgeon. The other two studies were verytechnical but I still identify with their findings such as thecognitive functioning is impaired by PTSD, this is because, after theincidence involving my friend, I failed my exam and became withdrawnmost of the time. One thing that remains not clear in mind is “whysome people are more prone to developing the disorder and how suchfactors can be detected and managed early enough to prevent thedevelopment of the disorder.”


Studiesbased on post-traumatic stress disorders are varied. Some are basedon behavioral/symptoms of the victims of traumatic events while otherare very complex using advanced methods of assessing how the bodyfunctions during PTSD as well as the body elements involved in thedevelopment of the disorder. All studies have indicated that someparts of the body such as the brain are affected by the disorderswhile some factors in the body such as genetic materials maypredispose a person to develop the disorder. I feel that the studybased on PTSD have contributed immensely towards understanding thedisorder but much need to be done to ensure that all factors leadingto the development of the disorder are well understood and managed tohelp people prevent and manage the condition for their wellbeing.


Al-Shagran,H., Khasawneh, O, M., Ahmed, A. K., &amp Jarrah. K. (2015). Posttraumatic stress disorder of Syrian Refugees in Jordan.InternationalJournal of Liberal Arts and Social Science, Vol. 3, No.3.

Hull,A. m. (2002). neuroimaging Findings in Post Traumatic StressDisorder. BritishJournal of Psychiatry, Vol. 181.

Kremen,W. S., Koenen, K. C., Afari, N., &amp Lyons, M. J. (2012).TwinStudies of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: DifferentiatingVulnerability Factors from Sequelae. NeuropharmacologyJournal, Vol. 62, pp. 647-653