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How does posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) happen?

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During a trauma, your body responds to a threat by going into “flight or fight” mode. It releases stress hormones to give you a burst of energy.

PTSD causes your brain to get stuck in danger mode. Even after you’re no longer in danger, it stays on high alert. Your body continues to send out stress signals, which lead to PTSD symptoms.

SOURCES:

JoAnne Difede, Ph.D., director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill-Cornell Medicine.

National Institutes of Mental Health: “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Mayo Clinic: “Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder.”

American Psychological Association: “What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?’

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “PTSD: National Center for PTSD.”

Washington Academy of Sciences: “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What Happens In the Brain?”

Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: “Traumatic Stress: Effects on the Brain.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 13, 2017

SOURCES:

JoAnne Difede, Ph.D., director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill-Cornell Medicine.

National Institutes of Mental Health: “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Mayo Clinic: “Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder.”

American Psychological Association: “What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?’

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “PTSD: National Center for PTSD.”

Washington Academy of Sciences: “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What Happens In the Brain?”

Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: “Traumatic Stress: Effects on the Brain.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 13, 2017

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What are the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

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