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Journal Article Analysis: PTSD and Gray Matter Reduction

            Experiencing traumatic events often is life-changing for the experiencer. For some, that traumatic event can cause severe neurological changes, negatively impacting the functioning and well-being of the individual. In the anxiety disorder known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are mainly rooted in flashbacks, emotional numbness or detachment, and hypervigilance (Nolan-Hoeksema, 2020). One study used Voxel Based Morphometry with 75 participants aged 18-50 (with 25 having the diagnosis of PTSD, 25 being trauma-exposed controls, and 25 as the healthy control group) to examine gray matter differences amongst the sample (O’Doherty et al., 2017). The results indicate that in the PTSD group, gray matter was reduced in parts of the limbic system, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and anterior cingulate cortex. Additionally, the authors indicate, “Significant negative correlations were found between total CAPS lifetime clinical scores/sub-scores and GM volume of both the PTSD and TC groups” (O’Doherty et al., 2017). This study is significant because it correlates PTSD symptoms with regions of the brain which have lost gray matter, further establishing an understanding of what precisely PTSD is and how it changes the individual’s ability to function. With a deeper understanding of how PTSD works, professionals will be better able to treat clients with this disorder.

            PTSD was chosen as the focus for this assignment as my goal as a future psychologist is to primarily work with those who have experienced trauma, including veterans, victims of sexual assault, and more. The symptoms of PTSD can be terribly debilitating, and it is not uncommon for those who have limited knowledge of the condition to discredit these individuals’ suffering. It is important that when dealing with this condition, that the individuals have a source of hope. For Christians with PTSD, that source of hope can be God. While the Bible is not enough to overturn the effects of PTSD, it can be enough to motivate the individual to seek treatment and adhere to it. Isiah 41:10 can be an excellent verse to help bring a glimmer of hope and a sense of peace to the suffering, as it states, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (King James Bible, 1769/2017).

References

King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

(Original work published 1769)

Nolen-Hoeksema. (2020). Abnormal Psychology (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

O’Doherty, D. C. M., Tickell, A., Ryder, W., Chan, C., Hermens, D. F., Bennett, M. R., &

Lagopoulos, J. (2017, August 30). Frontal and subcortical grey matter re1-s2.0-S0925492716303377-main.pdf Download 1-s2.0-S0925492716303377-main.pdfductions in PTSD. Psychiatry Research. Neuroimaging, 266, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.05.008