Blausen Medical
Blausen Medical

Blausen Medical

Medically accurate and informative 3D animations



The brain is composed of millions of interconnecting nerve cells called neurons. In order for a person to think, move, or feel, these neurons must communicate with one another. They do so by sending and receiving chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. When a neurotransmitter is released from a neuron, it crosses a cleft, or synapse, and binds to a receptor on another neuron; thus the signal is passed on. When a person experiences a traumatic event, the body responds through a release of hormones and neurotransmitters in order to cope with the situation. Most of the time, the person can recover from this experience normally, but in some cases, people continue to experience fear long afterwards. This is called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that occurs when a person continues to respond to a traumatic event long after it has ended. It can be experienced in the short term or become an ongoing condition. There is evidence that people with PTSD have abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain that are connected to memories, fear response, and emotions. Abnormal levels of neurotransmitters can also cause symptoms, triggering a fear response and other symptoms because of this imbalance. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks or bad dreams related to the event, difficulty sleeping, avoidance of things that relate to the event, changes in mood or numbness, and living in a state of agitation or fear. Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy may be prescribed to treat some patients with this condition. Psychotropic drugs work by changing the amounts of one or more of the neurotransmitters in the brain. This can be done by stopping or increasing their actions. For example, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, can be used to treat PTSD. These drugs slow down or stop the process of serotonin being reused by the neurons by blocking the reuptake pumps. By decreasing the amount of serotonin that is recycled, an increased amount of serotonin remains in the gap. This allows more serotonin to be available in order to pass on the next signal between the neurons. When the amount of serotonin in the brain is normal, symptoms of PTSD may improve. The prescribing and monitoring of medications for PTSD is complex and requires assessment of many different aspects of a patient's history and current symptoms. Management of serious disorders such as PTSD is different for everyone. If you show symptoms of PTSD, consult with a psychiatrist about the best treatment options for you.

Duration: 03:06
Licence: CC - Attribution
Original Language: English
Published: 9/12/2017
Diseases and Conditions: Depression / Panic/Anxiety Disorders
Format: 3D Animation

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