Psych Central

What are Some of the Physiological Manifestations of PTSD?Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a result of severe trauma. The trauma experienced is usually one that has threatened a person’s safety. PTSD is seen in people returning from fighting in a war, or people who have been victims of violence or a natural disaster.

It’s normal to feel traumatized by significant life events such as surviving a severe car accident. It becomes pathological when the feelings of trauma, anxiety, panic, or sadness don’t fade with time. People who experience PTSD may feel like they are forever changed and suffer constant panic attacks, loss of sleep and social isolation.

Trauma and prolonged stress inevitably has a negative impact on overall health. PTSD has been linked to more physician visits in veteran populations.

4 Comments to
What are Some of the Physiological Manifestations of PTSD?

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  1. Excellent article! And I hope they will listen to and practice “Classic Yoga Nidra” also. So pleasant and helpful!

  2. One of the Veterans in our PTSD group stated that yoga was quite beneficial to him. Since I’m enrolled in a health & exercise club, they do have yoga so I was going to try it. My fellow Vet stated he was shocked as to how it relaxed him plus the other benefits he received. Must be something there. This guy is about 68 at least but it’s helping him. Something to this.

    The one thing I can’t seem to get past is wanting isolation. It’s there that I don’t feel threatened, don’t have to worry about others behavior, but I know it’s not quite normal to stay by oneself.

    Interaction with others is a healthy psychological phenomenon. Read that when I was doing a Masters in Counseling Psychology.

    Positive stroking, meaning, complimenting others and receiving compliments. Being with people, laughing, joking, working together, sharing, helping, it’s all “positive stroking”.

    The book I read long ago, “Born To Win”, mentioned this.

  3. EMDR is a treatment approach which has been empirically validated in over 24 randomized studies of trauma victims. It is considered one of the three treatments of choice for trauma (along with CBT and PE) by organizations such as ISTSS (International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies), American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense, Departments of Health in Northern Ireland, UK, Israel, the Netherlands, France, and other countries and organizations.

    See Foa, E.B., Keane, T.M., Friedman, M.J., & Cohen, J.A. (2009). Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies New York: Guilford Press. EMDR was listed as an effective and empirically supported treatment for PTSD, and was given an AHCPR “A” rating for adult PTSD.

    As noted in the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines (2004, p.18), in EMDR “traumatic material need not be verbalized; instead, patients are directed to think about their traumatic experiences without having to discuss them.” Given the reluctance of many combat veterans to divulge the details of their experience, as well as other trauma survivors, this factor is relevant to willingness to initiate treatment, retention and therapeutic gains.

    The research shows that EMDR works, and at 15-month follow-up continues to hold (see Wilson, S., Becker, L.A., & Tinker, R.H. (1997). Fifteen-month follow-up of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological trauma. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 1047-1056).

    The World Health Organization (WHO) now has “guidelines on problems and disorders specifically related to stress.” (In press)
    “Individual or group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), or stress management should be considered for adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
    “Individual or group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) should be considered for children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
    And don’t forget anyone can use some of the techniques in Dr. Shapiro’s new book “Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR.” Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). Anyway, the book is an easy read, helps you understand what’s “pushing” your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life. Also gives lots of really helpful ways that are used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings.

  4. Great overview of a complex subject. I have been dealing with PTSD directly since 2006. Both as one suffering from PTSD and helping other on their recovery path as an Army Chaplain and now a civilian pastor.

    In my experience growth and increased strength are possible following trauma! I have experienced, and seen, the best recovery when the physical, psychological and spiritual needs were addressed in an integrated approach between providers.

    I am grateful for all the resources you provide on the site.


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