Title

Current Status on Behavioral and Biological Markers of PTSD: A Search for Clarity in a Conflicting Literature

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2013

Keywords

Amygdala, Autonomic nervous system, Biomarkers, Cognition, Dissociation, Glucocorticoids, Hippocampus, Prefrontal cortex, Sex, Startle, Stress, Sympathetic nervous system, Traumatic stress, Parasympathetic nervous system

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.03.024

Abstract

Extensive research has identified stereotypic behavioral and biological abnormalities in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as heightened autonomic activity, an exaggerated startle response, reduced basal cortisol levels and cognitive impairments. We have reviewed primary research in this area, noting that factors involved in the susceptibility and expression of PTSD symptoms are more complex and heterogeneous than is commonly stated, with extensive findings which are inconsistent with the stereotypic behavioral and biological profile of the PTSD patient. A thorough assessment of the literature indicates that interactions among myriad susceptibility factors, including social support, early life stress, sex, age, peri- and post-traumatic dissociation, cognitive appraisal of trauma, neuroendocrine abnormalities and gene polymorphisms, in conjunction with the inconsistent expression of the disorder across studies, confounds attempts to characterize PTSD as a monolithic disorder. Overall, our assessment of the literature addresses the great challenge in developing a behavioral and biomarker-based diagnosis of PTSD.

Was this content written or created while at USF?

Yes

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, v. 37, issue 5, p. 860-895

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