BackgroundWomen exposed to gender-based violence (GBV) experience a high rate of common mental disorders and suicidal behaviour (¿mental disturbance¿). Little is known however about the timing of onset of mental disturbance following first exposure to GBV amongst women with no prior mental disorder.MethodsThe analysis was undertaken on the Australian National Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey dataset (N =8841). We assessed lifetime prevalence and first onset of common mental disorder and suicidal behaviour (mental disturbance) and exposure to GBV and its first occurrence based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Version 3 (WMH-CIDI 3.0). We used the Kaplan-Meier method to derive cumulative incident curves for first onset mental disturbance. The two derived subgroups were women who experienced GBV without prior mental disturbance; and women never exposed to GBV stratified to match the former group on age and socio-economic status.ResultsFor women with no prior mental disorder, the cumulative incidence curves showed a high incidence of all mental disturbances following first GBV, compared to women without exposure to GBV (all log rank tests <0.0001). Nearly two fifths (37%) of any lifetime mental disturbance had onset in the year following first GBV in women exposed to abuse. For these women, over half (57%) of cases of lifetime PTSD had onset in the same time interval. For GBV exposed women, half of all cases of mental disturbance (54%) and two thirds of cases of PTSD (66.9%) had onset in the five years following first abuse. In contrast, there was a low prevalence of onset of mental disturbance in the comparable imputed time to event period for women never exposed to GBV (for any mental disturbance, 1% in the first year, 12% in five years; for PTSD 3% in the first year, 7% in five years).ConclusionsAmongst women without prior mental disturbance, common mental disorders and suicidal behaviour have a high rate of onset in the one and five year intervals following exposure to GBV. There is a particularly high incidence of PTSD in the first year following GBV.
Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is a potentially disabling condition that affects approximately 10% of bereaved people. Grief-focused cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating PGD. Although treatments for PGD have focused on exposure therapy, much debate remains about whether exposure therapy is optimal for PGD.
Chronic alcohol abuse is a major public health concern following trauma exposure; however, little is known about the temporal association between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and problem alcohol use. The current study examined the temporal relationship between PTSD symptom clusters (re-experiencing, effortful avoidance, emotional numbing, and hyperarousal) and problem alcohol use following trauma exposure. This study was a longitudinal survey of randomly selected traumatic injury patients interviewed at baseline, 3 months, 12 months, and 24 months following injury. Participants were 1,139 injury patients recruited upon admission from 4 Level 1 trauma centers across Australia. Participants were assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Results indicated that high levels of re-experiencing, effortful avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms at 12 months were associated with greater increases (or smaller decreases) in problem alcohol use between 12 and 24 months. Findings also suggested that high levels of problem alcohol use at 12 months were associated with greater increases (or smaller decreases) in emotional numbing symptoms between 12 and 24 months. These findings highlight the critical importance of the chronic period following trauma exposure in the relationship between PTSD symptoms and problem alcohol use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
There has been a growing recognition of the importance of reward processing in PTSD, yet little is known of the underlying neural networks. This study tested the predictions that (1) individuals with PTSD would display reduced responses to happy facial expressions in ventral striatal reward networks, and (2) that this reduction would be associated with emotional numbing symptoms. 23 treatment-seeking patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder were recruited from the treatment clinic at the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Westmead Hospital, and 20 trauma-exposed controls were recruited from a community sample. We examined functional magnetic resonance imaging responses during the presentation of happy and neutral facial expressions in a passive viewing task. PTSD participants rated happy facial expression as less intense than trauma-exposed controls. Relative to controls, PTSD participants revealed lower activation to happy (-neutral) faces in ventral striatum and and a trend for reduced activation in left amygdala. A significant negative correlation was found between emotional numbing symptoms in PTSD and right ventral striatal regions after controlling for depression, anxiety and PTSD severity. This study provides initial evidence that individuals with PTSD have lower reactivity to happy facial expressions, and that lower activation in ventral striatal-limbic reward networks may be associated with symptoms of emotional numbing.
Different lines of research suggest that the consolidation of emotional memories is influenced by (a) endogenous levels of sex hormones, and (b) individual differences in the capacity to use vivid mental imagery. No studies to date have investigated how these factors may interact to influence declarative emotional memories. This study examined the interacting influence of progesterone and mental imagery strength on emotional memory consolidation. Twenty-four men, 20 women from the low progesterone (follicular) menstrual phase, and 20 women from the high progesterone (mid-luteal) phase of the cycle were assessed using an objective performance-based measure of mental imagery strength, and then shown a series of aversive and neutral images. Half of the images were accompanied by instructions to process sensory features, and the remaining half to process the conceptual characteristics of the images. Two days later, all participants returned for a surprise free recall memory test. The interaction of progesterone and mental imagery strength significantly predicted recall of visually processed, but not verbally processed, negative images. These data suggest that mental imagery strength may be one mechanism underlying the documented association between endogenous progesterone and enhanced emotional memory performance in the literature.
Although there is much evidence for the construct of prolonged grief, there was much controversy over the proposal to introduce a prolonged grief diagnosis into Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), and it was finally rejected as a diagnosis in DSM-5. This review outlines the evidence for and against the diagnosis, and highlights the implications of the DSM-5 decision.
Benefit from antidepressant treatment such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may depend on individual differences in acute effects on neural emotion processing. The short ('S') allele of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT)-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is associated with both negative emotion processing biases and poorer treatment outcomes. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore the effects of 5-HTTLPR on the impact of the SSRI escitalopram during processing of positive and negative emotional images, as well as neutral stimuli.
This longitudinal study investigated the temporal relationship patterns between disability and mental health after injury, with a focus on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.
Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tend to retrieve autobiographical memories with less episodic specificity, referred to as overgeneralised autobiographical memory. In line with evidence that autobiographical memory overlaps with one's capacity to imagine the future, recent work has also shown that individuals with PTSD also imagine themselves in the future with less episodic specificity. To date most studies quantify episodic specificity by the presence of a distinct event. However, this method does not distinguish between the numbers of internal (episodic) and external (semantic) details, which can provide additional insights into remembering the past and imagining the future. This study employed the Autobiographical Interview (AI) coding scheme to the autobiographical memory and imagined future event narratives generated by combat veterans with and without PTSD. Responses were coded for the number of internal and external details. Compared to combat veterans without PTSD, those with PTSD generated more external than internal details when recalling past or imagining future events, and fewer internal details were associated with greater symptom severity. The potential mechanisms underlying these bidirectional deficits and clinical implications are discussed.
Acute neural effects of antidepressant medication on emotion processing biases may provide the foundation on which clinical outcomes are based. Along with effects on positive and negative stimuli, acute effects on neutral stimuli may also relate to antidepressant efficacy, yet these effects are still to be investigated. The present study therefore examined the impact of a single dose of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram (20 mg) on positive, negative and neutral stimuli using pharmaco-fMRI.
While a large proportion of conflict-affected populations have been dually exposed to trauma and loss, there is inadequate research identifying differential symptom profiles related to bereavement and trauma exposure in these groups. The objective of this study were to (1) determine whether there are distinct classes of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and prolonged grief disorder (PGD) symptoms in bereaved trauma survivors exposed to conflict and persecution, and (2) examine whether particular types of refugee experiences and stressors differentially predict symptom profiles.
Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness; rather it is a distinct entity representing wellness. Models of wellbeing have been proposed that emphasize components of subjective wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, or a combination of both. A new 26-item scale of wellbeing (COMPAS-W) was developed in a cohort of 1669 healthy adult twins (18-61 years). The scale was derived using factor analysis of multiple scales of complementary constructs and confirmed using tests of reliability and convergent validity. Bivariate genetic modeling confirmed its heritability. From an original 89 items we identified six independent subcomponents that contributed to wellbeing. The COMPAS-W scale and its subcomponents showed construct validity against psychological and physical health behaviors, high internal consistency (average r=0.71, Wellbeing r=0.84), and 12-month test-retest reliability (average r=0.62, Wellbeing r=0.82). There was a moderate contribution of genetics to total Wellbeing (heritability h(2)=48%) and its subcomponents: Composure (h(2)=24%), Own-worth (h(2)=42%), Mastery (h(2)=40%), Positivity (h(2)=42%), Achievement (h(2)=32%) and Satisfaction (h(2)=43%). Multivariate genetic modeling indicated genetic variance was correlated across the scales, suggesting common genetic factors contributed to Wellbeing and its subcomponents. The COMPAS-W scale provides a validated indicator of wellbeing and offers a new tool to quantify mental health.
This article updates advances in prostate cancer screening based on prostate-specific antigen, its derivatives, and human kallikrein markers. Many men are diagnosed with indolent disease not requiring treatment. Although there is evidence of a survival benefit from screening, the numbers needed to screen and treat remain high. There is risk of exposing men to the side effects of treatment for nonthreatening disease. A screening test is needed with sufficiently good performance characteristics to detect disease at an early stage so treatment may be offered with curative intent, while reducing the number of negative or unnecessary biopsies.
Dome liver lesions (those in segments VII or VIII) pose a challenge to standard laparoscopic resection. The use of additional intercostal and transthoracic trocars (ITTs) potentially facilitates resection over standard subcostal laparoscopic (SSL) techniques.
Individuals with health anxiety experience catastrophic fears relating to future illness. However, little research has explored cognitive processes involved in how health anxious individuals picture the future. Ruminative thinking has been shown to impede the ability to recall specific autobiographical memories, which in turn is related to maladaptive, categoric future thinking processes. This study examined the impact of rumination on memory and future thinking among 60 undergraduate participants with varying health anxiety (35% clinical-level health anxiety). Participants were randomized to experiential/ruminative self-focus conditions, then completed an Autobiographical Memory Test and Future Imaginings Task. Responses were coded for specificity and the presence of illness concerns. Rumination led to more specific illness-concerned memories overall, yet at the same time led to more categoric illness-related future imaginings. Rumination and health anxiety together best predicted overgeneral illness-related future imaginings. Highly specific illness-related memories may be maintained due to their personal salience. However, more overgeneral illness-related future imaginings may reflect cognitive avoidance in response to the threat of future illness. This divergent pattern of results between memory and future imaginings may exacerbate health anxiety, and may also serve to maintain maladaptive responses among individuals with realistic medical concerns, such as individuals living with chronic illness.
While high prevalence rates of psychological symptoms have been documented in civilian survivors of war, little is known about the mechanisms by which trauma exposure might lead to poor psychological outcomes in these populations. One potential mechanism that may underpin the association between war-related traumatic experiences and psychopathology is interpersonal sensitivity. In the current study, we applied structural equation modeling to investigate the impact of interpersonal sensitivity on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression symptoms, and anger responses following exposure to war trauma. 3313 survivors of the war in the former Yugoslavia were identified and selected using a multistage, probabilistic sampling frame and random walk technique. Participants were interviewed regarding trauma exposure, interpersonal sensitivity, and PTSD symptoms, depression symptoms, and anger responses. Structural equation modeling analyses revealed that the relationship between trauma and PTSD symptoms and depression symptoms was partly statistically mediated by interpersonal sensitivity. Further, findings indicated that the relationship between trauma and anger responses was fully statistically mediated by interpersonal sensitivity. These results suggest that interpersonal sensitivity may function as a key mechanism that contributes to psychopathology following trauma.
Intrusive memories are common following traumatic events and among the hallmark symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most studies assess summarized accounts of intrusions retrospectively. We used an ecological momentary approach and index intrusive memories in trauma survivors with and without PTSD using electronic diaries. Forty-six trauma survivors completed daily diaries for 7 consecutive days recording a total of 294 intrusions. Participants with PTSD experienced only marginally more intrusions than those without PTSD, but experienced them with more "here and now quality," and responded with more fear, helplessness, anger, and shame than those without PTSD. Most frequent intrusion triggers were stimuli that were perceptually similar to stimuli from the trauma. Individuals with PTSD experienced diary-prompted voluntary trauma memories with the same sense of nowness and vividness as involuntary intrusive trauma memories. The findings contribute to a better understanding of everyday experiences of intrusive reexperiencing in trauma survivors with PTSD and offer clinical treatment implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
In social anxiety the psychological self is closely related to the feared stimulus. Socially anxious individuals are, by definition, concerned about how the self is perceived and evaluated by others. As autobiographical memory is strongly related to views of the self it follows that biases in autobiographical memory play an important role in social anxiety. In the present study high (n = 19) and low (n = 29) socially anxious individuals were compared on autobiographical memory bias, current goals, and self-discrepancy. Individuals high in social anxiety showed a bias towards recalling more negative and more social anxiety-related autobiographical memories, reported more current goals related to overcoming social anxiety, and showed larger self-discrepancies. The pattern of results is largely in line with earlier research in individuals with PTSD and complicated grief. This suggests that the relation between autobiographical memory bias and the self is a potentially valuable trans-diagnostic factor.
The diagnostic concepts of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other disorders specifically associated with stress have been intensively discussed among neuro- and social scientists, clinicians, epidemiologists, public health planners and humanitarian aid workers around the world. PTSD and adjustment disorder are among the most widely used diagnoses in mental health care worldwide. This paper describes proposals that aim to maximize clinical utility for the classification and grouping of disorders specifically associated with stress in the forthcoming 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Proposals include a narrower concept for PTSD that does not allow the diagnosis to be made based entirely on non-specific symptoms; a new complex PTSD category that comprises three clusters of intra- and interpersonal symptoms in addition to core PTSD symptoms; a new diagnosis of prolonged grief disorder, used to describe patients that undergo an intensely painful, disabling, and abnormally persistent response to bereavement; a major revision of "adjustment disorder" involving increased specification of symptoms; and a conceptualization of "acute stress reaction" as a normal phenomenon that still may require clinical intervention. These proposals were developed with specific considerations given to clinical utility and global applicability in both low- and high-income countries.
The misinformation effect is defined as an impairment in memory for past events due to exposure to misleading information (E. F. Loftus, 2005 ). Some people may be more susceptible to the misinformation effect than others, and this may also depend on their response to a distressing event. The purpose of the current study was to investigate several key factors that may contribute to misinformation susceptibility for distressing events, namely posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms such as avoidance, intrusions, and dissociation. Participants watched either a neutral or trauma film, rated their level of distress, and completed measures of trait and state dissociation. When participants returned a week later, misinformation was introduced via an eyewitness statement and free recall was assessed. Findings indicated that dissociation was related to higher distress ratings following the film but was not related to acceptance of misinformation. However, avoidance scores were related to increased recall of misinformation items, and reported experiences of intrusions were related to greater accuracy. These results are discussed in light of the paradoxical negative emotion hypothesis.
Natural disasters represent an increasing threat both in terms of incidence and severity as a result of climate change. Although much is known about individual responses to disasters, much less is known about the social and contextual response and how this interacts with individual trajectories in terms of mental health, wellbeing and social connectedness. The 2009 bushfires in Victoria, Australia caused much loss of life, property destruction, and community disturbance. In order to progress future preparedness, response and recovery, it is crucial to measure and understand the impact of disasters at both individual and community levels.
The recent release of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association has led to much debate. For this forum article, we asked BMC Medicine Editorial Board members who are experts in the field of psychiatry to discuss their personal views on how the changes in DSM-5 might affect clinical practice in their specific areas of psychiatric medicine. This article discusses the influence the DSM-5 may have on the diagnosis and treatment of autism, trauma-related and stressor-related disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, mood disorders (including major depression and bipolar disorders), and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Recent evidence suggests that an interaction of noradrenaline (NE) and cortisol (CORT) during encoding leads to greater consolidation of emotional memories. Convergent models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggest the release of CORT and NE lead to greater intrusive memories in PTSD. This study examined the effect of NE and CORT during encoding on recall and intrusive memories in PTSD. Fifty-eight participants (18 participants with PTSD, 20 trauma-exposed controls, and 20 non-trauma exposed controls) provided saliva samples of NE (indexed by salivary alpha amylase; sAA) and CORT at (a) baseline and (b) after viewing negative emotional stimuli. Delayed memory recall and number of intrusive memories of negative, neutral and positive stimuli were recorded two days after this initial testing session. The PTSD group had greater NE levels to negative stimuli and reported greater numbers of intrusive memories of negative stimuli than controls. Regression analyses revealed that the interaction of CORT and NE significantly predicted negative intrusive memories in the PTSD group. The trauma-exposed group reported significantly greater recall of negative images compared to controls, but did not differ significantly from the PTSD group. The PTSD group reported greater levels of suppression of negative images during encoding compared to the other groups. Our results confirm that the interaction of NE and CORT significantly predicts greater negative intrusive memories, but this occurs specifically in the PTSD group. This suggests that a level of heightened arousal is required for the relationship between stress hormones and emotional memory to manifest in PTSD.
Over-general autobiographical memory (OAM) retrieval is characterized by retrieval of categoric autobiographical memories. According to the CarFAX model, this tendency may result from avoidance which functions to protect the person against recalling details of upsetting memories. This study tested whether avoidance strategies impact on the ability to retrieve specific autobiographical memories. Healthy participants (N=51) watched a negative video clip and were instructed to either suppress any thought (thought suppression), suppress any feeling (emotional inhibition), or think and feel naturally (controls) in response to the video. Participants then completed the Autobiographical Memory Test. Participants engaging in either thought suppression or emotional inhibition retrieved fewer categoric autobiographical memories than controls. These findings challenge the affect regulation component of the CarFAX model insofar as they suggest that regulatory strategies that aim to reduce awareness of adverse emotional memories do not necessarily lead to increased recall of categoric autobiographical memories.
DSM-5 and ICD-11 have proposed new psychiatric diagnoses to describe persistent and severe grief reactions. These initiatives have sparked much controversy because of concerns that diagnosing grief responses may overpathologize normative distress following bereavement. This review outlines the evidence for diagnosing grief.
Prolonged grief (PG), otherwise known as complicated grief, has attracted much attention in recent years as a potentially debilitating condition that affects approximately 10% of bereaved people. We propose a model of PG that integrates processes of attachment, self-identity, and autobiographical memory. The paper commences with a discussion of the PG construct and reviews current evidence regarding the distinctiveness of PG from other bereavement related-outcomes. We then review the evidence regarding the dysfunctional attachments, appraisals, and coping styles that people with PG display. Recent evidence pertaining to the patterns of autobiographical memory in PG is described in the context of the self-memory system. This system provides a unifying framework to understand the roles of personal memories, identity, attachments, and coping responses in PG. The proposed model places emphasis on how ones sense of identity influences yearning, memories of the deceased, appraisals, and coping strategies, to maintain a focus on the loss. The model is discussed in relation to existing models of PG. The potential for shaping treatment strategies to shift perceptions of the self is then outlined. Finally, we outline future directions to test propositions stemming from the model and enhance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying PG.
Here we present our attempt at off pump HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation using the anticoagulant bivalirudin in a patient with heparin induced thrombocytopenia, which resulted in thrombosis within the LVAD device. This required that our procedure be converted to on pump, and a new HeartMate II LVAD device to be implanted. In our view, this thrombotic event may have been caused by a number of factors that include bivalirudins (1) short half-life of about 20 minutes, (2) decreased activity with blood stasis, (3) inability to prevent clot propagation, and (4) uncertainty with real-time monitoring of therapeutic levels. To prevent future thrombotic events, it may be beneficial to immediately deair the LVAD device prior to the coring of the left ventricle during off pump LVAD placement. In addition, a solution other than blood may be used for priming. If blood is used for priming of the LVAD device, the duration of blood stasis should not exceed 20 minutes when bivalirudin is being used for anticoagulation. Furthermore, this case emphasizes the importance of having a backup LVAD device available and ready to use during surgical procedures.
The levels of exposure to conflict-related trauma and the high rates of mental health impairment amongst asylum seekers pose specific challenges for refugee decision makers who lack mental health training. We examined the use of psychological evidence amongst asylum decision makers in New South Wales, Australia, drawing on the archives of a representative cohort of 52 asylum seekers. A mixed-method approach was used to examine key mental health issues presented in psychological reports accompanying each asylum application, including key documents submitted for consideration of asylum at the primary and review levels. The findings indicated that the majority of decision makers at both levels did not refer to psychological evidence in their decision records. Those who did, particularly in the context of negative decisions, challenged the expert findings and rejected the value of such evidence. Asylum seekers exhibiting traumatic stress symptoms such as intrusive thoughts and avoidance, as well as memory impairment, experienced a lower acceptance rate than those who did not across the primary and review levels. The findings raise concern that trauma-affected asylum seekers may be consistently disadvantaged in the refugee decision-making process and underscore the need to improve the understanding and use of mental health evidence in the refugee decision-making setting. The study findings have been used to develop a set of guidelines to assist refugee decision makers, mental health professionals and legal advisers in improving the quality and use of psychological evidence within the refugee decision-making context.
Anger is a common emotional sequel in the aftermath of traumatic experience. As it is associated with significant distress and influences recovery, anger requires routine screening and assessment. Most validated measures of anger are too lengthy for inclusion in self-report batteries or as screening tools. This study examines the psychometric properties of a shortened 5-item version of the Dimensions of Anger Reactions (DAR), an existing screening tool.
Hypnosis has puzzled scientists for centuries, and particularly the reason why some people are prone to engaging in suggested experiences discordant with external reality. Absorption in internal experience is one key component of the hypnotic response. The neuropeptide oxytocin has been posited to heighten sensitivity to external cues, and it is possible that individual differences in oxytocin-related capacity to engage in external or internal experiences influences hypnotic response. To test this proposal, 185 Caucasian individuals provided saliva samples for analysis of polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene, COMT, and independently completed standardized measures of hypnotizability and absorption. Participants with the GG genotype at rs53576 were characterized by lower hypnotizability and absorption scores than those with the A allele; there was no association between hyponotizability and COMT. These findings provide initial evidence that the capacity to respond to suggestions for altered internal experience is influenced by the oxytocin receptor gene, and is consistent with evidence that oxytocin plays an important role in modulating the extent to which people engage with external versus internal experiences.
It has long been argued that hypnosis cannot promote behaviors that people will not otherwise engage in. Oxytocin can enhance trust in others, and may promote the extent to which a hypnotized person complies with the suggestion of a hypnotist. This double-blind placebo study administered oxytocin or placebo to high hypnotizable participants (N?=?28), who were then administered hypnotic suggestions for socially unorthodox behaviors, including swearing during the experiment, singing out loud, and dancing in response to a posthypnotic cue. Participants who received oxytocin were significantly more likely to swear and dance than those who received the placebo. This finding may be interpreted in terms of oxytocin increasing social compliance in response as a function of (a) increased trust in the hypnotist, (b) reduced social anxiety, or (c) enhanced sensitivity to cues to respond to experimental expectations. These results point to the potential role of oxytocin in social persuasion.
Intrusive memories are highly vivid, emotional and involuntary recollections which cause significant distress across psychological disorders including posttraumatic disorder (PTSD). Recent evidence has potentially extended our understanding of the development of intrusive memories by identifying biological factors which significantly impact on memories for emotionally arousing stimuli. This study investigated the role of stress on the development of intrusions for negative and neutral images, and indexed the potential contributions of sex (estrogen and progesterone) and stress (noradrenaline and cortisol) hormones. Whilst viewing the images, half the participants underwent a cold pressor stress (CPS) procedure to induce stress while the control participants immersed their hands in warm water. Saliva samples were collected to index estrogen, progesterone and noradrenergic and cortisol response. Participants (55 university students, 26 men, 29 women) viewed a series of negatively arousing and neutral images. Participants completed recall and intrusions measures 2days later. Negative images resulted in greater recall and more intrusions than neutral images. In the cold water condition females recalled fewer neutral memories than males. Cortisol increase predicted decreased recall of negative memories in males, and estrogen predicted increased intrusions of negative images in women. These findings are consistent with evidence that circulating levels of ovarian hormones influence memory for emotionally arousing events, and provides the first evidence of the influence of sex hormones on intrusive memories. These results provide one possible explanation for the higher incidence of anxiety disorders in women.
Despite cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) being an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many patients do not respond to CBT. Understanding the neural bases of treatment response may inform treatment refinement, thereby improving treatment response rates. Adequate working memory function is proposed to enable engagement in CBT.
The most effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is exposure therapy, which aims to facilitate extinction of conditioned fear. Recent evidence suggests that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) facilitates extinction learning. This study assessed whether the Met-66 allele of BDNF, which results in lower activity-dependent secretion, predicts poor response to exposure therapy in PTSD.
The first aim of this work was to conduct a rigorous longitudinal study to identify rates of delayed-onset posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a sample of patients with severe injury. The second aim was to determine what variables differentiated delayed-onset PTSD from chronic PTSD.
Peritraumatic dissociation is one of the most critical acute responses to a traumatic experience, partly because it predicts subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder. Despite this, there is little understanding about the factors that influence peritraumatic dissociation. This study investigated the extent to which peritraumatic dissociation is predicted by the amount of perceived warning that participants had of the impact of the trauma.
Cultures previously set up for isolation of mycoplasmal agents from blood of patients with poorly-defined illnesses, although not yielding positive results, were cryopreserved because of suspicion of having low numbers of unknown microbes living in an inactive state in the broth. We re-initiated a set of 3 cultures for analysis of the "uncultivable" or poorly-grown microbes using NGS technology. Broth of cultures from 3 blood samples, submitted from OHSU between 2000 and 2004, were inoculated into culture flasks containing fresh modified SP4 medium and kept at room temperature (RT), 30°C and 35°C. The cultures showing evidence of microbial growth were expanded and subjected to DNA analysis by genomic sequencing using Illumina MiSeq. Two of the 3 re-initiated blood cultures kept at RT after 7-8 weeks showed evidence of microbial growth that gradually reached into a cell density with detectable turbidity. The microbes in the broth when streaked on SP4 agar plates produced microscopic colonies in ? 2 weeks. Genomic studies revealed that the microbes isolated from the 2 blood cultures were a novel Afipia species, tentatively named Afipia septicemium. Microbes in the 3(rd) culture (OHSU_III) kept at RT had a limited level of growth and could not reach a plateau with high cell density. Genomic sequencing identified the microbe in the culture as a previously unknown species of Bradyrhizobium bacteria. This study reports on the isolation of novel Afipia and Bradyrhizobium species. Isolation of Bradyrhizobium species bacteria has never been reported in humans. The study also reveals a previously unrecognized nature of hematogenous infections by the 2 unique groups of Bradyrhizobiaceae. Our studies show that improvement of culture system plus effective use of NGS technology can facilitate findings of infections by unusual microbes in patients having poorly-defined, sometimes mysterious illnesses.
Exposure to early life trauma (ELT) is known to have a profound impact on mental development, leading to a higher risk for depression and anxiety. Our aim was to use multiple structural imaging methods to systematically investigate how traumatic stressors early in life impact the emotional brain circuits, typically found impaired with clinical diagnosis of depression and anxiety, across the lifespan in an otherwise healthy cohort. MRI data and self-reported histories of ELT from 352 healthy individuals screened for no psychiatric disorders were analyzed in this study. The volume and cortical thickness of the limbic and cingulate regions were assessed for all participants. A large subset of the cohort also had diffusion tensor imaging data, which was used to quantify white matter structural integrity of these regions. We found a significantly smaller amygdala volume and cortical thickness in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex associated with higher ELT exposure only for the adolescence group. White matter integrity of these regions was not affected. These findings demonstrate that exposure to early life trauma is associated with alterations in the gray matter of cingulate-limbic regions during adolescence in an otherwise healthy sample. These findings are interesting in the context that the affected regions are central neuroanatomical components in the psychopathology of depression, and adolescence is a peak period for risk and onset of the disorder.
Predominant dissociation in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by restricted affective responses to positive stimuli. To date, no studies have examined neural responses to a range of emotional expressions in PTSD with high dissociative symptoms.
The WHO International Classification of Diseases, 11th version (ICD-11), has proposed two related diagnoses, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD within the spectrum of trauma and stress-related disorders.
Intrusive memories are a common feature of many psychological disorders. Recent evidence has potentially extended cognitive models of intrusions by identifying the role of biological markers of arousal at the time of consolidation in subsequent memory for emotional events. This study investigated the role of arousal during consolidation in the development of intrusive memories. Seventy-eight university students (37 men and 41 women) viewed 20 negative and 20 neutral images. Half the participants then underwent a cold pressor test (High Stress), immersing their hand in ice water, while the remaining participants immersed their hand in warm water (Low Stress). Samples of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and cortisol were collected from participants at baseline and following the stressor challenge. Participants completed a delayed free recall test and intrusion questionnaires two days later. Participants in the High Stress condition reported more intrusions of negative images than participants in the Low Stress condition. An interaction variable in a linear regression of increased noradrenergic and cortisol values predicted intrusive memories of emotional stimuli for men but not women. These findings are consistent with recent evidence of the combined effects of noradrenaline and corticoid responses to stress on emotional memories, and also with increasing evidence of gender differences in how stress hormones influence formation of emotional memories. These findings point to possible mechanisms by which development of intrusions may be prevented after consolidation of traumatic experiences.
This study investigated retrieval mechanisms that may be involved in memory for distressing stimuli. Forty-one nonclinical participants watched a video clip depicting the immediate aftermath of a serious car accident. Following this, half of the participants were instructed to focus attention on the victims of the accident and to consider the negative sequelae of their injuries. The remaining participants were not given any instructions. Following the Victim Focus/Control period, all participants completed a cued-recall task assessing their memory of the video clip. Overall, victim-related details were better recalled than nonvictim related details. It is important to note that participants in the Victim Focus condition retrieved fewer peripheral details than participants in the Control condition. These results suggest that people focusing attention on distressing aspects of an event can experience a cost in remembering other aspects of the event. These findings may be interpreted in terms of enhanced recollection of central events or retrieval-induced forgetting mechanisms to explain patterns of diminished memory for aspects of distressing events.
There is increasing recognition that adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with chronic illnesses experience common psychological challenges. This article reviewed published psychological interventions for AYAs with cancer, diabetes, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, sickle cell disease, and asthma. Common, efficacious intervention components were examined to generate clearer recommendations for future age-appropriate, evidence-based intervention development.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) often coexist because brain injuries are often sustained in traumatic experiences. This review outlines the significant overlap between PTSD and TBI by commencing with a critical outline of the overlapping symptoms and problems of differential diagnosis. The impact of TBI on PTSD is then described, with increasing evidence suggesting that mild TBI can increase risk for PTSD. Several explanations are offered for this enhanced risk. Recent evidence suggests that impairment secondary to mild TBI is largely attributable to stress reactions after TBI, which challenges the long-held belief that postconcussive symptoms are a function of neurological insult This recent evidence is pointing to new directions for treatment of postconcussive symptoms that acknowledge that treating stress factors following TBI may be the optimal means to manage the effects of many TBIs.
The pernicious individual and societal effects of exposure to violence highlight the importance of understanding factors related to trauma perpetration. Little research has investigated the phenomenon of accidental perpetration of serious injury and death, or considered the relationship between perpetration and trauma exposure.
Although cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there is no evidence of its success with PTSD patients still under direct threat of terrorist attacks. This study reports the first randomized controlled trial of CBT for PTSD terrorist-affected people. Twenty-eight survivors of terrorist attacks in southern Thailand were randomized to 8 sessions of either CBT or treatment as usual (TAU). CBT was modified to accommodate the realistic threats facing patients. There were independent assessments conducted before, immediately after, and 3 months following treatment. Main outcome measures included symptoms of PTSD (PTSD Symptom Scale Interview), depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and complicated grief (Inventory of Complicated Grief). CBT resulted in significantly greater reduction in symptoms, including PTSD, depression, and complicated grief, at follow-up than TAU. Relative to TAU, CBT had stronger effect sizes at follow-up for PTSD, depression, and complicated grief. More patients in the CBT condition (75%) achieved high end-state functioning than participants in the TAU (33%). This preliminary evidence suggests that PTSD, depression, and complicated grief can be effectively treated despite ongoing threats of terrorism. Further, it demonstrates that non-specialist mental health workers in a non-western setting can be efficiently trained in using CBT, and this training can translate into successful treatment gains in trauma-affected individuals.
One rationale for establishing the acute stress disorder diagnosis was to identify recently trauma-exposed people who may develop later posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study conducted a multi-site assessment of the extent to which ASD predicts subsequent PTSD, and also major depressive disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder, 12 months after trauma.
International clinical practice guidelines for the management of psychological trauma recommend Psychological First Aid (PFA) as an early intervention for survivors of potentially traumatic events. These recommendations are consensus-based, and there is little published evidence assessing the effectiveness of PFA. This is not surprising given the nature of the intervention and the complicating factors involved in any evaluation of PFA. There is, nevertheless, an urgent need for stronger evidence evaluating its effectiveness. The current paper posits that the implementation and evaluation of PFA within high risk organizational settings is an ideal place to start. The paper provides a framework for a phasic approach to implementing PFA within such settings and presents a model for evaluating its effectiveness using a logic- or theory-based approach which considers both pre-event and post-event factors. Phases 1 and 2 of the PFA model are pre-event actions, and phases 3 and 4 are post-event actions. It is hoped that by using the Phased PFA model and evaluation method proposed in this paper, future researchers will begin to undertake the important task of building the evidence about the most effective approach to providing PFA in high risk organizational and community disaster settings.
Little is understood about neural networks associated with conversion disorders. This case study reports the first investigation of the neural circuitry associated with the recovery of chronic conversion disorder. A patient with a four year history of hysterical mutism was assessed with functional MRI (fMRI) during a vocalization task, and then provided psychotherapy that attempted to reduce motivational factors that maintained mutism. The patient resumed full speech, and was readministered the fMRI vocalization task. Vocalization during mutism and following recovery of speech resulted in increases in speech-related networks, including the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), middle frontal, and supplementary motor area of the frontal cortex, temporal and parietal cortices, and also in the primary and sensory motor regions. Following speech recovery but not during mutism, the IFG was correlated positively with the anterior cingulate cortex and negatively with the amygdala. This pattern suggests that during the conversion disorder there was impaired connectivity between speech networks and networks that regulate anxiety.
Intimate partner physical violence, rape, sexual assault, and stalking are pervasive and co-occurring forms of gender-based violence (GBV). An association between these forms of abuse and lifetime mental disorder and psychosocial disability among women needs to be examined.
Studies show that individuals with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) tend to recall autobiographical memories with decreased episodic specificity. A growing body of research has demonstrated that the mechanisms involved in recalling autobiographical memories overlap considerably with those involved in imagining the future. Although shared autobiographical deficits in remembering the past and imagining the future have been observed in other clinical populations, this has yet to be examined in PTSD. This study examined whether, compared to combat trauma-exposed individuals without PTSD, those with combat-related PTSD would be more likely to generate overgeneralized autobiographical memories and imagined future events.
Complicated Grief (CG) is a chronic and debilitating consequence of bereavement. Although sharing features with depression and anxiety, CG is associated with independent negative health outcomes. Despite these significant health costs, relatively little is known about the cognitive mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance of CG. The ability to envisage the future is important for adaptive functioning. This study investigates future-related thinking in CG.
Current models of autobiographical memory suggest that self-identity guides autobiographical memory retrieval. Further, the capacity to recall the past and imagine ones self in the future (mental time travel) can influence social problem solving. We examined whether manipulating self-identity, through an induction task in which students were led to believe they possessed high or low self-efficacy, impacted episodic specificity and content of retrieved and imagined events, as well as social problem solving. Compared to individuals in the low self efficacy group, individuals in the high self efficacy group generated past and future events with greater (a) specificity, (b) positive words, and (c) self-efficacious statements, and also performed better on social problem solving indices. A lack of episodic detail for future events predicted poorer performance on social problem solving tasks. Strategies that increase perceived self-efficacy may help individuals to selectively construct a past and future that aids in negotiating social problems.
Current models that account for attentional processes in anxiety have proposed that high-trait anxious individuals are characterized by a hypervigilant-avoidant pattern of attentional biases to threat. We adopted a laboratory conditioning procedure to induce concomitant hypervigilance and avoidance to threat, emphasizing a putative relationship between lower-level reactive and upper-level controlled attentional mechanisms as the core account of attentional processes involved in the development and maintenance of anxiety. Eighty high- and low-trait anxious participants underwent Pavlovian conditioning to a human face. Eye tracking was used to monitor attentional changes to the conditioned stimulus (CS+) face and the neutral stimulus (CS-) face, presented at 200, 500, and 800 ms durations. The high-anxious participants developed the expected attentional bias toward the CS+ at 200 ms presentation time and attentional avoidance at 500 and 800 ms durations. Hypervigilance to aversive stimuli at 200 ms and later avoidance to the same stimuli at 500 and 800 ms were associated with higher levels of galvanic skin conductance to the CS+. The low-anxious individuals developed the opposite attentional pattern with an initial tendency to orient attention away from the aversive stimuli in the 200 ms condition and to orient attention toward aversive stimuli in the remaining time. The differential modulation between hypervigilance and avoidance elicited in the two groups by the conditioning procedure suggests that vulnerability to anxiety is characterized by a latent relationship between diverse attentional mechanisms. Within this relationship, hypervigilance and avoidance to threat operate at different stages of information processing suggesting fuzzy boundaries between early reactive and later-strategic processing of threat.
Since hypnosis was popularly recognized in the nineteenth century, the phenomenon of hypnotizability has remained poorly understood. The capacity to increase hypnotizability has important implications because it may increase the number of people who can benefit from hypnotic interventions for psychological and medical conditions. Current theories emphasize that rapport between hypnotist and subject is pivotal to motivate the respondent to engage in strategies that allows them to suspend reality and respond to suggestions. The neuropeptide oxytocin is implicated in social bonding, and enhances a range of social behaviors in animals and humans. This study tested the proposal that oxytocin administration, which enhances social bonding in humans, may enhance hypnotic responding by administering intranasal spray of oxytocin or placebo prior to hypnosis in 40 low hypnotizable male subjects. When low hypnotizable individuals were administered oxytocin via nasal spray, their level of hypnotic responding increased significantly compared to hypnotic responding levels prior to oxytocin administration. This is the first demonstration of a neurochemical basis for hypnotic responding, and points to a potential neural mechanism to explain hypnotizability.
Among traumatized Cambodian refugees, this article investigates worry (e.g., the types of current life concerns) and how worry worsens posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To explore how worry worsens PTSD, we examine a path model of worry to see whether certain key variables (e.g., worry-induced somatic arousal and worry-induced trauma recall) mediate the relationship between worry and PTSD. Survey data were collected from March 2010 until May 2010 in a convenience sample of 201 adult Cambodian refugees attending a psychiatric clinic in Massachusetts, USA. We found that worry was common in this group (65%), that worry was often about current life concerns (e.g., lacking financial resources, children not attending school, health concerns, concerns about relatives in Cambodia), and that worry often induced panic attacks: in the entire sample, 41% (83/201) of the patients had "worry attacks" (i.e., worry episodes that resulted in a panic episode) in the last month. "Worry attacks" were highly associated with PTSD presence. In the entire sample, generalized anxiety disorder was also very prevalent, and was also highly associated with PTSD. Path analysis revealed that the effect of worry on PTSD severity was mediated by worry-induced somatic arousal, worry-induced catastrophic cognitions, worry-induced trauma recall, inability to stop worry, and irritability. The final model accounted for 75% of the variance in PTSD severity among patients with worry. The public health and treatment implications of the studys findings that worry may have a potent impact on PTSD severity in severely traumatized populations are discussed: worry and daily concerns are key areas of intervention for these worry-hypersensitive (and hence daily-stressor-hypersensitive) populations.
This study tested the vigilance-avoidance model of anxiety and attention bias in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study used eye tracking technology to record initial fixations, pupil dilation, fixation time and concurrent skin conductance response to examine initial orienting towards threat stimuli and subsequent fixations. Twenty-one traumatized participants (11 diagnosed with PTSD and 10 trauma-exposed participants without PTSD) viewed 32 stimuli (with four words in each quadrant). Sixteen trials contained a trauma-relevant word in one quadrant and 16 had four neutral words. PTSD patients reported significantly greater number of initial fixations to trauma words, and a greater number of skin conductance responses to initial threat fixations. There were no significant differences in subsequent fixations to trauma words between groups. Although this study provides evidence of attentional bias towards threat that is accompanied by specific autonomic arousal, it does not indicate subsequent avoidance of threat stimuli in PTSD.
Policies of deterrence, including the use of detention and temporary visas, have been widely implemented to dissuade asylum seekers from seeking protection in Western countries. The present study examined the impact of visa status change on the mental health of 97 Mandaean refugees resettled in Australia. At the time of the first survey (2004), 68 (70%) participants held temporary protection visas (TPVs) and 29 (30%) held permanent residency (PR) status, whereas by the second survey (2007), 97 (100%) participants held PR status. We tested a meditational model to determine whether the relationship between change in visa status and change in psychological symptoms was mediated by change in living difficulties associated with the visa categories. The conversion of visa status from TPV to PR status was associated with significant improvements in PTSD and depression symptoms, and increases in mental health-related quality of life (MHR-QOL). The relationship between change in visa status and reduced PTSD and depression symptoms was mediated by reductions in living difficulties. In contrast, the relationship between change in visa status and increased MHR-QOL was not mediated by changes in living difficulties. These results suggest that restriction of rights and access to services related to visa status negatively affect the mental health of refugees. Implications for government policies regarding refugees are discussed.
This review examines the question of whether there should be a cluster of disorders, including the adjustment disorders (ADs), acute stress disorder (ASD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the dissociative disorders (DDs), in a section devoted to abnormal responses to stress and trauma in the DSM-5. Environmental risk factors, including the individuals developmental experience, would thus become a major diagnostic consideration. The relationship of these disorders to one another is examined and also their relationship to other anxiety disorders to determine whether they are better grouped with anxiety disorders or a new specific grouping of trauma and stressor-related disorders. First how stress responses have been classified since DSM-III is reviewed. The major focus is on PTSD because it has received the most attention, regarding its proper placement among the psychiatric diagnoses. It is discussed whether PTSD should be considered an anxiety disorder, a stress-induced fear circuitry disorder, an internalizing disorder, or a trauma and stressor-related disorder. Then, ASD, AD, and DD are considered from a similar perspective. Evidence is examined pro and con, and a conclsion is offered recommending inclusion of this cluster of disorders in a section entitled "Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders." The recommendation to shift ASD and PTSD out of the anxiety disorders section reflects increased recognition of trauma as a precipitant, emphasizing common etiology over common phenomenology. Similar considerations are addressed with regard to AD and DD.
Survivors of traumatic events of an interpersonal nature typically have higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than survivors of noninterpersonal traumatic events. Little is known about potential differences in the nature or trajectory of PTSD symptoms in survivors of these different types of traumatic events. The current study aimed to identify the specific symptom profile of survivors of interpersonal and noninterpersonal trauma, and to examine changes in differences in the symptom profile over time.
Although the impact of human rights violations on the mental health of refugees has been well documented, little is known about these effects at a family level. In this study the authors examined the relationships among loss, trauma, and mental health at the individual and family levels in resettled Mandaean refugees (N = 315). Trauma, loss, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, complicated grief, and mental health-related quality of life were assessed. A multilevel path analysis revealed that loss and trauma significantly impacted on psychological outcomes at both the individual and family levels. Effect sizes ranged from .21 to .68 at the individual level, and .38 to .99 at the family level, highlighting the importance of the family when considering the psychological impact of refugee-related trauma.
The nature and structure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been the subject of much interest in recent times. This research has been represented by two streams, the first representing a substantive body of work which focuses specifically on the factor structure of PTSD and the second exploring PTSDs relationship with other mood and anxiety disorders. The present study attempted to bring these two streams together by examining structural models of PTSD and their relationship with dimensions underlying other mood and anxiety disorders. PTSD, anxiety and mood disorder data from 989 injury survivors interviewed 3-months following their injury were analyzed using a series of confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) to identify the optimal structural model. CFA analyses indicated that the best fitting model included PTSDs re-experiencing (B1-5), active avoidance (C1-2), and hypervigilance and startle (D4-5) loading onto a Fear factor (represented by panic disorder, agoraphobia and social phobia) and the PTSD dysphoria symptoms (numbing symptoms C3-7 and hyperarousal symptoms D1-3) loading onto an Anxious Misery/Distress factor (represented by depression, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder). The findings have implications for informing potential revisions to the structure of the diagnosis of PTSD and the diagnostic algorithm to be applied, with the aim of enhancing diagnostic specificity.
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