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The Role of Glucocorticoids in the (Mal)adaptive Response to Traumatic Experience 

The Role of Glucocorticoids in the (Mal)adaptive Response to Traumatic Experience
Chapter:
The Role of Glucocorticoids in the (Mal)adaptive Response to Traumatic Experience
Source:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Author(s):

Hagit Cohen

, and Joseph Zohar

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190259440.003.0038

Glucocorticoids (GCs) play a major role in orchestrating the complex physiological and behavioral reactions essential for the maintenance of homeostasis. These compounds enable the organism to prepare for, respond to, and cope with the acute demands of physical and emotional stressors and enable a faster recovery with passage of the threat. A timely and an appropriate GC release commensurate with stressor severity enables the body to properly contain stress responses so as to promote recovery by rapidly restoring homeostasis. Inadequate GC release following stress not only delays recovery by disrupting biological homeostasis but can also interfere with the processing or interpretation of stressful information that results in long-term disruptions in memory integration. A salient example of such an impaired post-traumatic process is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings from recent animal models and translational and clinical neuroendocrine studies summarized in this chapter provide insights shedding light on the apparently contradictory studies of the HPA-axis response to stress. Also included is a review of the basic facts about PTSD and biological data.

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