Stress Resiliency and PTSD

Stress Resiliency and PTSD

  1. Symptoms of PTSD and Impacts in Person’s Life

PTSD is caused by various symptoms which will be discussed widely in this part of the question. To start with, re-experiencing is common among patients with PTSD. Most of them have intrusive memories which keep on re-occurring from past experiences which happened a long time ago. In most cases, these patients normally question themselves on whether they reacted or dealt with the situation in the right way. Flashbacks are common when they see a similar event or situation. This mostly occurs when they are carried away by a situation as they try to correlate what is happening and what happened before. Also, most of these patients are affected by nightmares and they sometimes daydream as they try to adjust to their condition. Further, children who are affected by this condition will always request the guardian to play something back in case it was a movie because they can hardly recall what they have just seen (Krystal, 2011).

Secondly, hyperarousal is also a common symptom in most patients (Krystal, 2011). This means that they generally fear when they are exposed to reminders of past experiences and events which triggered the current situation. In most cases, they try to run away from the event because they are totally disoriented. In this movie, some of the characters are in total fear when they are exposed to grass clippings as it reminds them of the Vietnam experiences which affected their personal lives in a greater way. Further, fear can be easily diffused to nonspecific reminders as long they expose a patient to similar pain. When a patient is exposed to a challenging situation in the past, he or she tends to relate it to the current challenge as it normally brings back similar kind of pain experienced in the past. From the movie, it is evident that the characters fear the small city just like they feared the big cities where they lived before. Again, psychological arousal is also evident where most patients seek help from experts on how they should deal with the condition (Krystal, 2011). Additionally, most patients also complain of insomnia and irritability as they hardly get to sleep due to consequent flashbacks and daydreaming. This irritates them especially when they see other people are able to sleep comfortably with must ease making their condition even worse.

Thirdly, these patients tend to avoid everything and anything that comes their way. Basically, avoidance leads to total isolation from other people (Krystal, 2011). These patients live in a restricted life where they only see and do things which they wish to do alone. This has negative implications on their lives as they are totally lost in their own world where they hardly talk and interact with other people. They even forget to perform the basic chores like eating and bathing because they do not want to be seen by other people. They are hyperactive to traumatic reminders whenever they see them. This is because their brain responds immediately and they are able to recall the past experiences. Most patients get more potent with these kinds of reminders. Further, they are affected by numbing as they cannot enjoy things. This is because they lose all their senses and get to a point where nothing is more pleasurable to them.

Further, negative symptoms are evident in these patients. It is completely difficult to regulate the level of anxiety in these patients as they fear any situations because they believe they will bring back the past experiences which affected them and led to the situation. Most of them end up being depressed and isolating themselves from other people. They believe that they are failures. Hence, psychological interventions are very important in this phase as most of these patients should be taken into a rehab where they can recover slowly with the help of other patients who have similar conditions (Krystal, 2011). Depression can easily lead to these patients indulge into alcoholism which worsens the rate of insomnia and anxiety. These patients also have trust issues especially in cases where women were sexually assaulted. They tend to inflict violence and transfer it to other people. Children mostly transfer these issues to other people, especially to their guardians.

From the movie, it is quite clear and evident that different kinds of trauma have general symptoms and the patterns remain the same (Krystal, 2011). Both men and women display the same symptoms and patterns. However, the situation is different in children. With time, the sources and triggers of these memories change but the overall effect remains the same in most patients. This condition can totally disable a person’s life as they are completely isolated from depression among other symptoms as discussed in the essay above. However, when this condition is managed, there are minimal effects and consequences in future.

  1. The Brain Structure and PTSD

From the documentary, it is quite clear that the human brain is composed of various and different parts. Amygdala normally referred to as ‘almond’ is basically the command center for the alarm. This enables the body to react to the frightening things as observed in some characters in the documentary (Krystal, 2011). One of the characters is at first surprised by a dog but when he is placed together with the dog, they easily connect. However, he still has the mentality that dogs are really dangerous. It is also clear that people who have damaged amygdale have no ability or senses to learn to be afraid. As human beings, we need to fear in order to learn whether something or a situation is bad r safe for us. When PTSD patients are exposed to reminders of their past experiences and events, they become extremely active and they can easily recall every bit of these events. Further, they are able to clearly differentiate the specifics. Normally, an individual is able to respond to the situation in the right way. However, for the PTSD patients, they react incorrectly as it is difficult for them to learn the safety cues.

Secondly, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis which is normally referred to as the ‘extended amygdala’ is also another component of the brain. It is responsible for the genera abroad contexts which are not specific. In the documentary, some characters have trouble with alleys as they have no specific places like that ally, the trashcan or even the bomb (Krystal, 2011). Thirdly, the hippocampus which is the back part of the brain enables transfer of information specifically to the long-term memory where if removed, an individual cannot be able to learn even the basics of life. On the other hand, part of it enables the brain to understand the context under discussion, the sequence and the time factor.

Further, the dorsolateral and pre-frontal cortexes are responsible for the processes of thinking and planning in a human being (Krystal, 2011). These parts of the brain enable an individual to perform executive cognitive functions. For instance, planning is very important in every human being as it ensures we are able to keep track of time was taken and the sequence involved. It also enables individuals to pay full attention to the issue at hand. It also plays an important role in organizational behavior and representing all kinds of information in the memory. In cases of anxiety, it is able to direct conflicts in the amygdale. Additionally, these two parts enable an individual to cope up with stress as they shut down the amygdale. However, if these two are shut down, an individual’s ability to make bad decisions is escalated as they are simply not able to think clearly.

Further, the ventra-lateral and pre-frontal cortex is able to execute individual’s emotions as well as control. The neurochemical part of the brain ensures that no two individuals are similar as it basically causes variations in our genes. This is the reason as to why we normally change our reactions when it comes to stress. With time, individuals experience changes that affect their well-being. Children develop these stressors later in life. Most experts in the field argue that some stress is necessary to ensure the healthy development of the brain. It is also responsible for shaping the patterns responsible for stress response in our bodies.

The adrenaline part of the brain is able to arouse us and generally keep us focused. Basically, danger is normally processed in the multiple brain regions and later expressed by the sympathetic nervous system. Yohimbine which naturally occurs in our bodies is able to prevent noradrenaline neurons from turning themselves off and later activating the entire body system (Krystal, 2011). It also arouses PTSD. Noradrenaline system is basically hyperactive in people who are affected by PTSD. Neuropeptide signals the recovery system to stop flight and fight when they occur. In this case, the Special Forces and the resilient soldiers release more noradrenaline and neuropeptide. High resilience ensures an active system that is able to react and recover, unlike low resilience which ensures low levels of reaction and recovery. It is also clear that stress disrupts the ability to create new neurons in the brain. Thus, PTSD normally emerges from the multiple neural responses to stress which is maintained by dysregulation. Finally, the discussed structures of the brain are able to increase general insight into a gene in x environments interactions and adaptation. These interactions are able to contribute and impact positively on resilience and the maladaptive stress response.

  1. Treatment and how Neurobiology is Involved

Basically, the documentary is interested in the medications that dampen the activity of the amygdala (Krystal, 2011). Also, it focuses on teaching people how to dampen the activity of their amygydala. These kinds of medication and activities may remind patients of the scary places and expose them again to frightening stimuli but this time with no possible consequences. This is normally done repeatedly until the amygdale no longer reacts to the place (Krystal, 2011). This is referred to as extinction as it basically gets rid of conditioning the mind in a specific way. Further, it is hard to treat this condition when the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is involved. This is because it disperses fear too much-unrelated things making the initial and current condition even worse.

Further, there are kinds of treatments which affect the neuropeptide and the non-adrenaline system. The prozosin is responsible for blocking the non-adrenaline receptors. Further, it is mandated to administering neuropeptide.

Some individuals also react to broad contexts that are not specific to a certain type of treatment administered to them. However, any patient with this condition must adapt to any of the traditional approaches that are administered to them. His means that more elaborate and cognitive processing kinds of therapy techniques should be applied to the patients. This will enable them to learn how to react to different situations and challenges while recovering from the bad and frightening memories. These kinds of therapies enable patients who are affected by this condition to recover from depression and isolation (Krystal, 2011). Although these therapies take time before these patients can be able to recover fully, experts in the field argue that they are the most effective forms of treatment to this condition. Thus, most patients are advised to take them in order to recover fully. Decyclsarian is also adopted to promote neural plasticity and even rewire the brain and enable the individual affected to react in a better way as they recover from the condition.

Additionally, the serotonin uptake inhibitors are also applied in the treatment of this condition. Basically, Zoloft and Paxil acts on the serotonin transporter 5htt (Krystal, 2011). However, the less functional gene that is responsible for coding the serotonin transporter is believed to increase the depression scores. Thus, the poor brain is derived neurotrophic factor genes. This is unsupported in poor environments that really increase the risk and effects of depression. Most individuals affected by PTSD are worst hit by depression and anxiety. Any reminder of past experience which resulted in the condition normally affects them in a greater way. This is the reason as to why most of them confine themselves, isolate and end up being depressed in they do not receive any forms of treatment on time. These inhibitors are also responsible for increasing the risk and effect as long as they are exposed to a poor environment. Further, these inhibitors are also able to increase the connectivity. This enhances and ids the serotonin system and the entire body system. Additionally, they act as adrenaline inhibitors. Experts in the field have added their efforts towards the trial and error that is focused towards the use and adoption of the personalized medicines that can be used to treat this condition as discussed throughout the documentary. Various genotypes have been introduced and tested on a given population but the bodies in charge of regulation are yet to commission full adoption of the personalized medicines to treat this condition. Thus, secondary prevention strategies that are meant to provide ways and means to prevent stress have been devised and implemented where the results have been of positive implications to these patients. However, caution must be taken especially when children are under treatment as they are most vulnerable to these forms of treatment.






Krystal, J. (Producer). (2011). Stress, resiliency, and PTSD: From neurobiology to treatment [Motion picture]. United States: Tilde Café