Chemical Basis Of PTSD

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It is only appropriate that, before going into detail about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I talk about my cousin for just enough of your time to care. He is a married man with a beautiful wife and son. A few months back, he came back home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan. I got to see him about a month ago, as he, too, was headed towards his mom’s, my aunt’s, house. When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was his radiant smile and how the small kitchen expanded with the glow of that smile. At first blush, nothing seemed wrong with him: he seemed extremely happy and content to be back, and he acted like his normal self. As the day dragged itself to its end, and just when I was getting ready to leave, I could hear sobs coming from…show more content…
In other words, chemically, what is going on inside the body of a PTSD patient? First, let us discuss the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT). Also known as the serotonin transporter, 5-HTT does exactly what you think it does: it transports serotonin from synaptic spaces into presynaptic neurons. The problem with 5-HTT is that if the promoter of 5-HTT is present, this can lead to an “increased sensitivity to stress and an increased incidence of depression and anxiety disorder” (Carlson 2011). In other words, one can become more vulnerable to stress-related disorders, like PTSD. This hypothesis was put to the test in study of people living in Florida during the 2004 hurricane season. The results showed that, for those with high hurricane exposure and low social support (people at risk for PTSD), the short allele that promoted 5-HTT was present. Furthermore, its presence was associated with a 450% increase in PTSD incidence (Carlson…show more content…
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