PTSD Reaction May Include Dissociation

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 21 (UPI) — People under acute wartime stress do not always become more vigilant to threats, and often manifest a dissociative state, Israeli researchers found.

The 2008-09 Gaza War study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, reports people confronted with daily rocket attacks over time often manifested a dissociative state rather than hyper vigilance, challenging current thinking that trauma creates hyper vigilance.

The researchers suggest post trauma symptoms produce a measurable effect that may be used to predict the individuals most at risk for developing chronic post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic event.

“This calls for some revision of the foundations of the stress-post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD model,” Tel Aviv University researcher Yair Bar Haim says in a statement. “Our study is important because it’s the first to show the effects of war-related acute stress in real time.”

Bar Haim and colleagues used brain imaging while study participants completed various computer tasks to find how stress affects neural mechanisms and how people respond cognitively when under severe stress.

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