New Findings May Serve To Destigmatize PTSD

One reason post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is so hard to treat is because it is so hard to diagnose. Currently, there is no set diagnosis on the books, so doctors look for a combination of specific symptoms and treat then treat patients for PTSD. A new breakthrough, however, may have taken all the guess work out of diagnosing PTSD. The Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and the University of Minnesota conducted a study that may have linked mis-communications between the areas of the brains having to do with memory with positive PTSD diagnoses.

There were 80 veterans in the study. The conclusion that a person’s brain with PTSD undergoes a physiological change must have come as a relief to those veterans blaming themselves for their disorder. PTSD usually manifests itself in:

  • Flashbacks;
  • Nightmares;
  • Hostility or anger; or
  • Hyper-vigilance.

The study used a scanner to measure magnetic patterns in the subject’s brains. Researchers then interpreted brain activity in PTSD patients against brain activity in non-PTSD patients. They found a disconnect between the right side of the brain and the rest of the brain in PTSD patients-even when they’re not experiencing flashbacks or thoughts about the traumatic event(s) causing their PTSD.

The haunting memories that often accompany PTSD can pop up at any time, according to the study. The flashbacks are caused by involuntary interactions in the brain as opposed to an external trigger. This explains why PTSD sufferers say the memories never fade even if they have discovered how to exist day-to-day.

The right side of the brain is associated with memory, and in PTSD patients exhibits hyperactivity, even when at rest. This finding serves to reduce a huge amount of stigma associated with PTSD. Should these findings hold, PTSD sufferers no longer have to worry about being labeled with having an emotional problem.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.