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Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2007 Jul;43(3):114-22.

Neurobiological alterations associated with traumatic stress.

Author information

1
Department of Community Health Systems, School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. sandra.weiss@nursing.ucsf.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this article is to describe the effects of traumatic stress on brain structure and function, and the relationship of these neurobiological changes to symptoms experienced after trauma.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exposure to traumatic stress is associated with changes in the limbic system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and key monoamine neurotransmitters. Different neurobiological alterations can be linked to specific symptoms of hyperarousal, dissociation/numbing, and reexperiencing of the trauma.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Understanding what is happening in the brain can inform more targeted treatment for various symptoms that the individual may be experiencing.

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