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The Role of Stress in the Etiology of PTSD 

The Role of Stress in the Etiology of PTSD
The Role of Stress in the Etiology of PTSD

Edward F. Pace-Schott

, and Samuel Gazecki

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date: 07 December 2021

This chapter reviews the biological features of stress and their correlation to symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over the past 15 years, advances in understanding the neurobiology of stress and anxiety have revealed underlying neural abnormalities that might help explain why posttraumatic symptoms—intrusive memories or nightmares, avoidance of situations or stimuli associated with the event, persistent negativity of mood and cognition, and hyperarousal—persist in patients with PTSD. This chapter focuses on research that has discovered how abnormal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, abnormalities of the catecholamingergic/autonomic system, and atypical physiologic and neural circuit responses during fear extinction recall may be important biological factors in the etiology and maintenance of PTSD symptoms.

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