Know Stress

What Are The Causes of PTSD?

PTSD is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a psychological response (which may be either brief or prolonged) to a life-threatening or highly terrifying personal experience. Here are a few details about how exactly is post traumatic stress caused.

Biological Theory

The brain contains a structure called amygdala. It is a part of the limbic system which is involved in the expression of emotion, especially fear, emotional memory and autonomic reactions (e.g., a sudden, startled response and increased heart rate and blood pressure). Dysfunction in it may lead to the emergence of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

When a person under goes a traumatic experience, the brain automatically releases numerous types of stress hormones. These hormones include hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine. When there is a repeated occurrence of a traumatic experience or when there is a severely traumatic experience, then the body's stress response mechanism becomes hyperactive. At this moment, intrusive symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder develop.

Further, in cases where people who have been exposed to repeated or prolonged trauma are exposed to any type of stimulus that reminds them of their trauma do not respond. They reflect dissociative symptoms such as numbing, emotional nonresponsiveness and amnesia. The reason behind this response is the release of opiates such as endorphins and enkephalins by the brain.

Some people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder also reflect behavior patterns such as irritability and violent or angry outbursts. According to some, the reason for this behavior pattern could be serotonin depletion in the body. Such depletion may result from repeated exposure to severe trauma and stress.

Other Reasons for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Apart from biological reasons, there are some other causes of post traumatic stress disorder. These reasons are commonly called risk factors. They may include trauma experienced before; severity and type of the traumatic experience; any prevailing mental health condition; and lack of ample and able support for the person after the trauma.

In many cases, previous trauma is not the cause of post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD may also be induced by the psychological profile of the patient. This profile plays a crucial role in the development of PTSD after a traumatic event. Some characteristic traits of this type of profile may include low self-esteem, and borderline and/or dependent personality disorders.

A study found out that those individuals who exhibited borderline personality disorder had a history of family neglect due to parental loss or separation, physical and/or sexual abuse, and hostile conflict. On the other hand, those who suffered from dependent personality disorder were simply experiencing low self-esteem, dreadfulness of being alone, and an excessive need to be cared for by others. Together, they induced PTSDs in those who exhibited them.