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PTSD, neurochemical system imbalances

Researchers have recently determined that neurochemical imbalances linked to 2 different neurochemical systems in the brain cause PTSD susceptibility. Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, researchers and investigators teamed up to identify the causes and linked associations with PTSD and what they found was not surprising. The more out of balance these 2 neurochemical systems are the more severe the post traumatic stress disorder symptoms can be. In the past research has shown that those who suffer from PTSD have brain function and physical brain anatomy that is changed and altered when compared to those who do not have this condition. The systems in the brain affected by PTSD include serotonin and a chemical termed substance P. The researchers used PET imaging scans in order to determine the link between these 2 neurochemical systems and PTSD. When these systems are not properly balanced then one or both signaling systems can cause symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

The study results on neurochemical system imbalances and PTSD were published and can be found in the Molecular Psychiatry journal. According to Uppsala University Department of Psychology researcher and lead study author Andreas Frick “At present, PTSD is often treated with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which have a direct effect on the serotonin system. SSRI drugs provide relief for many but do not help everybody. Restoring the balance between the serotonin and substance P systems could become a new treatment strategy for individuals suffering from traumatic incidents.” The study showed that the level of imbalance between the different neurochemical signaling systems will determine how severe the PTSD symptoms become.