"After a single traumatic event, as many as one-fourth of people exposed will develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychiatric disorder characterized by anxiety, hyperarousal and persistent unwanted memories."

Can schoolyard bullying lead to PTSD?
"So, yes, one can develop PTSD (or post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms around all sorts of traumatic events, not just the classic ones like warfare or rape. For example, many people develop PTSD after motor vehicle accidents or after a stay in a hospital intensive care unit. There are even a couple of studies showing that bullying does indeed increase the risk of PTSD -- and that women are twice as likely to develop symptoms as are men subjected to the same traumas. Thus, anything that really shakes a person up, scares her half to death or makes her feel completely vulnerable and out of control can produce PTSD symptoms."

Could I have PTSD from being bullied?
"I have been harassed for many years at work due to the fact I am considered a disabled person. I can't do some jobs because I don't have the strength or endurance. People taunted me, saying stuff like saying I was a hypochondriac. They made me do work I couldn't physically do, and I'm harassed almost on a daily basis. During this time, I developed major depression, and last year I needed time off from work because of it. I feel I have some signs of PTSD because I can't work in certain areas of the plant I work in. -- I started cutting two years ago to deal with the stress and getting suicidal thoughts, which I still deal with at this time. I am getting counseling, and I am taking medication for my depression and my ADHD. I think of the teenagers who have killed themselves because of bullying, and I understand how they felt. That is how I feel. I now work more in an area where people treat me better, but I can't forget the fact that some of my co-workers drove me to have suicidal thoughts and cutting. I
have been with this company for 26 years. I was told to forget about it since they are treating me better, but I just can't get past the hell they put me through day in and day out. Could I have PTSD or complex PTSD?"

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors, Complications, Preparing for your appointment, Tests and diagnosis, Treatments and drugs, Alternative medicine, Coping and support, Prevention

Shadows from the past: Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder

PTSD: Know the symptoms and when to get help
People with PTSD are afflicted with three primary types of symptoms. -- The first type of symptoms involves all manner of intrusive memories of the event that often come with startling clarity via flashbacks and nightmares. Along with anything else that reminds a person of the trauma, these intrusive memories produce profound psychological distress and physical symptoms, such as a pounding heart. -- The second type of symptoms revolves around avoidance and emotional numbing. -- Bedeviled as they are by unwanted memories, images, nightmares and flashbacks that keep the terrifying reality of their experience emotionally alive for them, people with PTSD often go to heroic lengths to avoid anything in the personal or physical environment that reminds them of the trauma. -- They often also report feeling emotionally deadened, unable to love and disinterested in things others find pleasurable. Often they feel like they will die young or have less of a future than other people. -- The third and final symptom domain of PTSD is known as hyperarousal. Hyperarousal symptoms include difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, being hypervigilant and finally, demonstrating an exaggerated startle response. -- These PTSD symptoms usually don't travel alone, unfortunately, but are frequently accompanied by depression and difficulties with drugs and alcohol.

Operation: Warrior Wellness helps veterans with post-traumatic stress find peace in meditation

Operation: Warrior Wellness. It's a project that brings transcendental meditation to the veterans who are experiencing post-traumatic stress. -- "I've been teaching transcendental meditation for 40 years, and I've been teaching it 20, 30 years ago to Vietnam vets and even World War II vets, but it's just been in the past years where the understanding that post-traumatic stress disorder is a real epidemic that has no conventional, traditional solution," Roth says. -- "It's profoundly effective for giving deep rest, healing the brain, and reducing stress. So, we got approached by a lot of military people and veterans organizations saying, hey, can you offer TM to the vets," he adds.

More women in combat means more mothers with PTSD
Staff Sgt. June Moss was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in the Iraq war -- As more women see combat, more female vets are suffering from PTSD -- One in five female veterans suffer from PTSD, according to the VA. -- Her new mantra: "Staying positive and keeping negativity out of my life!" The horrors of the war -- witnessing decapitated and burned bodies amid mass destruction -- led to post-traumatic stress disorder. -- "I do notice when I'm stressing out that I start having dreams about what I saw and how I felt," says Moss, now 40 and retired from the Army. "It does come back as if to haunt you."

PTSD in women may have genetic link
Scientists are looking for genes or gene pathways that can help better predict PTSD. A new study in the journal Nature suggests one such route in women: through a protein called pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide, which is known to regulate the cellular stress response. Women are more likely to have PTSD in general; 10% of women and 5% of men develop the condition sometime in their lives. -- Study results suggest that a particular gene variant for PACAP may be sensitive to both estrogen and stress, because it is associated with women who have PTSD. -- "It helps us to understand that PTSD is complex," said Dr. Kerry Ressler of Emory University School of Medicine, lead study author. "There are many individual ways that people come to PTSD, in the same way that there are probably 100 different ways to come down with heart failure."

War vets find solace in four-legged friends
Wilson said his depression turned him into a hermit. He would "curl up and not talk to anybody," and his anxiety made it difficult to go into public. -- If he did leave the house, he was hypervigilant. If someone walked up behind him or dropped something that emitted a clatter, it triggered the "fight or flight" mechanism he'd groomed in the military. -- The anxiety was so bad that before he was diagnosed with PTSD, he went to the emergency room four times because he thought he was having a heart attack. He "self-medicated" so heavily with booze that it strained the relationship between him and his now-wife of two years. -- "I was having to drink to numb all my senses and be quasi-normal," he said. -- When veterans train "their own service dog, there are immediate benefits right off the bat," Cortani said. "They have a mission and a purpose again. It gives them something to focus on and to complete. It gives them a sense of security and safety. ... They know they're not alone. They've always got their buddy at the end of the leash." -- Now Wilson tells Lobo, "Watch my back," and his four-legged friend stands behind him and gives him a nudge if anyone approaches. When something stokes Wilson's anxiety, Lobo senses it, jumps up and puts his paws on Wilson's chest so he can redirect his focus. -- "Knowing he's there makes me comfortable," Wilson said. "I'm not worried about the attacks. I still think about them, but I'm not hampered by them. I can go to the movies."

Dogs help war vets find 'new normal'
Through her nonprofit, Operation Freedom Paws, Cortani helps veterans train their own service dogs in northern California. She often helps match veterans with dogs from shelters or rescue groups.

'Dog tags' takes on new meaning in program for soldiers with PTSD
Everyday routines, like going to the mall, have become an ordeal. The noise, the crowds, being exposed in the open with nowhere to hide, all trigger the responses he learned as a soldier. -- “I was outside the wire almost every day on missions,” he said. “And you have to watch your surroundings. You have to look for cues, anything that's suspicious.” -- “She provides that extra security and the comfort level,” he said. “She really helps calm me down.” -- “It’s been really relaxing having her with me,” he said. “I’ve lots to pay attention to. She’s my attention and I don’t have to concentrate on everybody else. My head’s not spinning around in circles like it usually does.” -- Before he got Farrah, Jesse rarely left his house. -- “I didn't want to be around anybody,” he said. “I was so depressed and so out of it that I just I didn't care about my life anymore.”

PTSD patient: Ecstasy eased my symptoms
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with Rachel Hope, who received an experimental PTSD treatment using the drug MDMA.

Using mixed martial arts to heal PTSD
Affiliate KTVK reports on how veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are using mixed martial arts as therapy.

Mixed martial arts eases her PTSD
Cassie Crisano turns to her dream of joining the professional female mixed martial arts circuit to treat her PTSD.

Virtual battleground used to stop PTSD
Researchers are using technology to help prevent PTSD.

Combating PTSD using scent
University of Central Florida offers an alternative way to treat PTSD among U.S. veterans.

Opera helps Iraq War vet fight PTSD
A Marine who survived Fallujah writes an opera as an attempt to heal his wounds.

PTSD strikes one in eight heart attack patients
"But new study finds that one in eight patients develop PTSD after experiencing a heart attack or other major heart event. The study, published online in PLoS One, also reveals that heart patients who experience PTSD face double the risk for another heart event or dying within one to three years, compared to heart patients who do not experience PTSD."

PTSD linked to higher post-surgery death rate
Post-traumatic stress disorder may be a condition of the mind, but research has implicated it in the ills of the body. Now, a new study suggests it may be associated with death after surgery. -- The study shows that veterans with PTSD were more likely to die within a year after surgery than those without the disease, regardless of how many years had passed since their service. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists this week. -- This is the first research to examine the mortality of patients with PTSD after surgery, said study author Dr. Marek Brzezinski, anesthesiologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco. -- "If you consider that perhaps more and more patients are coming, and they're going to be with us for years to come, this is obviously a huge field that needs to be addressed," he said. -- People develop PTSD, an anxiety disorder, in response to a traumatic event. Symptoms, which include intrusive memories, social withdrawal and increased anxiety or emotional arousal, typically begin within three months of a traumatic event, according to the Mayo Clinic. -- The condition has also been correlated with increased risk for alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, elevated lipid levels and other psychiatric disorders, Brzezinski said.

Study: PTSD signals longer-term health problems
"U. S. soldiers who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder during combat in Iraq were more likely to experience longer-term health problems including depression, headaches, tinnitis, irritability and memory problems compared with soldiers who experienced only concussions without PTSD. The study concludes that screening for PTSD among troops is critical for identifying and treating long-term health problems. The findings are published in the JAMA Archives of General Psychiatry."

Study shows PTSD symptoms improve when substance abuse treatment added
"Combining treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse resulted in improved PTSD symptoms without worsening symptoms of substance abuse, according to a study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association."

see John B. Watson Biography and Joseph LeDoux Biography pages for more on Fear Conditioning linked to PTSD.