Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Mechanisms and Possible Treatments

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental condition occurring after a tragedy or a traumatic experience, such as rape, assault, natural disasters, war, car or plane accidents, etc. PSTD can cause a number of symptoms, such as fear, high anxiety, hyperarousal, bad dreams, nightmares, etc., existing for a long time after the traumatic event. In recent years, the spread of PTSD has increased in the world, especially in Asia (Middle East), particularly among soldiers who have taken part in military conflicts. This situation confirms the importance of understanding how PTSD develops and of improving its treatment. This paper is a review of the literature related to the respective topics. Like other anxiety disorders, PTSD is related to disruption of the endocrine system, particularly disintegration of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA). People suffering from PTSD are characterized by elevated levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, low basal cortisol levels, and enhanced negative feedback suppression of the HPAA. At the present time, certain plant-derived compounds are considered to be a new important source to treat PTSD. For example, remedies obtained from saffron are such possible means. According to our findings, saffron components may considerably affect some parts of the HPAA for reduction of stress-induced corticosterone release.

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Correspondence to G. P. Jahromi.

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Asalgoo, S., Jahromi, G.P., Meftahi, G.H. et al. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Mechanisms and Possible Treatments. Neurophysiology 47, 482–489 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11062-016-9559-9

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Keywords

  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • hypothalamo-pituitary (hypophyseal)-adrenal axis (HPAA)
  • corticosteroids
  • corticotropin-releasing hormone