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Trauma and Resilience


Childhood Emotional Maltreatment Causes Troubled Romantic Relationships, Studies Suggest

Childhood Trauma Linked to Schizophrenia

APA Monitor: Treating Traumatized Children

Resilience: The Mental Muscle Everyone Has

The Road to Resilience

Building Resilience in a Turbulent World


PTSD Awareness


angry faces and PTSD


PTSD More 'Tuned' to Angry Faces Because of Over-Connected Brain Circuits


Understanding the brain's responses to angry faces could help diagnosis

January 20, 2016—Soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more 'tuned' to perceive threatening facial expressions than people without PTSD because of more over-connected brain circuits, according to a new study published in the journal Heliyon. The researchers behind the study, from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces, say understanding how this works could help researchers develop better ways to assess when soldiers are ready to be redeployed.
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Childhood Trauma Associated with Worse Impulse Control in Adulthood, Study Finds


Abuse or neglect associated with worse executive function in adults, whether or not they have bipolar disorder

January 20, 2016—The scars of childhood abuse and neglect affect adults' brains for decades to come, including their ability to process and act on information both quickly and accurately, new research suggests.

That kind of quick "go or don't go" thinking is crucial to everyday situations like driving or rare events like reacting to an emergency. And it appears to be less accurate and more impulsive in adults who suffered physical, emotional or sexual trauma in their early years than in those who did not, the study finds.
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Brain Regions of PTSD Patients Show Differences during Fear Responses

DURHAM, NC; December 15, 2015—Regions of the brain function differently among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, causing them to generalize non-threatening events as if they were the original trauma, according to new research from Duke Medicine and the Durham VA Medical Center.

Using functional MRI, the researchers detected unusual activity in several regions of the brain when people with PTSD were shown images that were only vaguely similar to the trauma underlying the disorder. The findings, reported in the Dec. 15, 2015, issue of the journalTranslational Psychiatry, suggest that exposure-based PTSD treatment strategies might be improved by focusing on tangential triggers to the initial event.
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Linked to Accelerated Aging

May 8, 2015—In recent years, public health concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have risen significantly, driven in part by affected military veterans returning from conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. PTSD is associated with number of psychological maladies, among them chronic depression, anger, insomnia, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Writing in the May 7 online issue of American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System suggest that people with PTSD may also be at risk for accelerated aging or premature senescence.

"This is the first study of its type to link PTSD, a psychological disorder with no established genetic basis, which is caused by external, traumatic stress, with long-term, systemic effects on a basic biological process such as aging," said Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences and director of the Center on Healthy Aging and Senior Care at UC San Diego, who is the senior author of this study.
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Children of Holocaust Survivors More Anxious About Iranian Nuclear Threat than Their Peers


Same group also found to possess more ominous outlook on the world in general, Bar-Ilan University study finds

April 14, 2015—As preparations are made to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day (Thursday, April 16), a new Bar-Ilan University study reveals that the adult children of Holocaust survivors are more preoccupied with the threat of a nuclear Iran than their peers whose parents are not Holocaust survivors.
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PTSD in the Family: Dressing Invisible Wounds

March 16, 2015—What image comes to mind when you hear the term posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD? If you conjure up the face of a soldier, you’re certainly not alone. This is the common theme in media reports on the subject; and certainly, high percentages of military veterans do experience posttraumatic symptoms.  However, the diverse faces of PTSD sufferers tell another story.
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Physical Violence Linked to Disruption of Stress Hormone in Women


Findings may explain why these women develop health-related problems, say UO and Oregon Social Learning Center scientists

EUGENE, OR; December 22, 2014—A new study links physical violence against women by male partners to a disruption of a key steroid hormone that opens the door potentially to a variety of negative health effects. The study by the University of Oregon and the Oregon Social Learning Center looked at daily fluctuations of cortisol levels in men and women. Cortisol was drawn from saliva samples of 122 couples during on-site assessments and four times a day—upon waking up, 30 minutes later, in mid to late afternoon and at bedtime—over four consecutive days.
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Half of US Kids Exposed to Traumatic Social or Family Experiences during Childhood


Adverse childhood experiences impact child health and school outcomes

December 8, 2014—Nearly half of all children in the United States are exposed to at least one social or family experience that can lead to traumatic stress and impact their healthy development—be it having their parents divorce, a parent die or living with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs—increasing the risk of negative long-term health consequences or of falling behind in school, suggests new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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How Early Trauma Influences Behaviour


Traumatic and stressful events during childhood increase the risk to develop psychiatric disorders, but to a certain extent, they can also help better deal with difficult situations later in life. Researchers have studied this phenomenon in mice to learn how these effects could be transmitted to the next generation.

December 1, 2014—Traumatic events leave their mark. People exposed to a traumatic experience early in life are more likely to be affected by illnesses such as borderline personality disorder or depression. However such experience can also have positive effects in certain circumstances. Thus, moderate stress in childhood may help a person develop strategies to better cope with stress in adulthood.
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Federal Legislation Ignores PTSD Toll on Civilians

November 11, 2014— Federal laws explicitly addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have overwhelmingly focused on the needs of military personnel and veterans, according to a new analysis published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
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Reminders of Emotional Support Silence the Brain's Response to Threat

November 7, 2014—Being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain's response to threat, new research from the University of Exeter has found.
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Evidence of Genetic Link to PTSD in Soldiers Exposed to Childhood Trauma

September 16, 2014—While abnormalities in the adrenergic and noradrenergic systems, both integral in the fight-or-flight response, are thought to play a role in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), until now there has been no genetic evidence of this connection. A collaborative study just released by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Michigan found an interaction between the ADRB2 gene and childhood adversity. For individuals with two or more experiences of childhood trauma, such as abuse, genotype was associated with risk for adult PTSD symptoms. These findings are significant for the study of the physiology of PTSD, for the treatment and prevention of stress-related illnesses, and may have implications for treating pain, which has also been linked to the ADRB2 gene.
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Trauma before Enlistment Linked to High Suicide Rates among Military Personnel, Veterans


Child abuse, sexual victimization, prior suicidal behavior significant risk factors

WASHINGTON, DC; August 9, 2014—High rates of suicide among military service members and veterans may be related to traumatic experiences they had before enlisting, making them more vulnerable to suicidal behavior when coping with combat and multiple deployments, according to the findings of several recent studies presented at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.
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Study Finds Greater Odds of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Those with Military Service

July 23, 2014—Men and women who have served in the military have a higher prevalence of adverse childhood events (ACEs), suggesting that enlistment may be a way to escape adversity for some.
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For a Holistic Approach to POW Trauma


Tel Aviv University researcher cautions against psychological 'tunnel vision'

July 7, 2014—The full circumstances of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl's captivity have yet to be revealed. During his tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held in captivity for five years until a controversial prisoner exchange led to his release on May 31. Bergdahl has been accused of deserting his post and advocating the release of Afghani prisoners.
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PTSD Symptoms Common After an ICU Stay

SAN DIEGO; May 19, 2014—Patients who have survived a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) have a greatly increased risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference.
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Hereditary Trauma                                    

April 13, 2014—The phenomenon has long been known in psychology: traumatic experiences can induce behavioural disorders that are passed down from one generation to the next. It is only recently that scientists have begun to understand the physiological processes underlying hereditary trauma. "There are diseases such as bipolar disorder, that run in families but can't be traced back to a particular gene", explains Isabelle Mansuy, professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. With her research group at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich, she has been studying the molecular processes involved in non-genetic inheritance of behavioural symptoms induced by traumatic experiences in early life. Mansuy and her team have succeeded in identifying a key component of these processes: short RNA molecules.
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Drawing Conclusions


Researcher finds drawing pictures can be key tool in investigations of child abuse

April 3, 2014—Is a picture worth only a thousand words? According to Dr. Carmit Katz of Tel Aviv University's Bob Shapell School of Social Work, illustrations by children can be a critical tool in forensic investigations of child abuse.
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Childhood Abuse May Impair Weight-Regulating Hormones


Early stress on endocrine system raises risk of excess belly fat later in life

Washington, DC; March 20, 2014—Childhood abuse or neglect can lead to long-term hormone impairment that raises the risk of developing obesity, diabetes or other metabolic disorders in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
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Experiential Avoidance Increases PTSD Risk following Child Maltreatment

March 5, 2014—Child abuse is a reliable predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder, but not all maltreated children suffer from it, according to Chad Shenk, assistant professor of human development and family studies, Penn State, who examined why some maltreated children develop PTSD and some do not.
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Study in Mice Raises Question: Could PTSD Involve Immune Cell Response to Stress?


After chronic stress, primed immune cells in spleen lead to excessive reaction to later event

COLUMBUS, OH; February 20, 2014—Chronic stress that produces inflammation and anxiety in mice appears to prime their immune systems for a prolonged fight, causing the animals to have an excessive reaction to a single acute stressor weeks later, new research suggests. After the mice recovered from the effects of chronic stress, a single stressful event 24 days later quickly returned them to a chronically stressed state in biological and behavioral terms. Mice that had not experienced the chronic stress were unaffected by the single acute stressor.
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Does Caregiving Cause Psychological Stress? UW Study of Female Twins Says It Depends


Study breaks long-held belief that caregiving directly causes distress

January 30, 2014—When it comes to life's stressors, most people would put caregiving at the top of the list. But according to Peter Vitaliano, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Washington (UW), there never have been data actually showing caregiving causes psychological distress. So he, and other researchers at the UW conducted a study of about 1,228 female twins, some were caregivers, and some were not. The results were somewhat surprising.
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Depression Symptoms and Emotional Support Impact PTSD Treatment Progress

January 23, 2014—Many individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also experience depression. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that during PTSD treatments, rapid improvements in depression symptoms are associated with better outcomes.
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Nociceptin: Nature’s Balm for the Stressed Brain

LA JOLLA, CA; January 8, 2014—Collaborating scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Camerino in Italy have published new findings on a system in the brain that naturally moderates the effects of stress. The findings confirm the importance of this stress-damping system, known as the nociceptin system, as a potential target for therapies against anxiety disorders and other stress-related conditions.
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Making Sad Sense of Child Abuse


Researchers decipher the unpredictable ways children respond to abuse

December 23, 2013—Dr. Carmit Katz of Tel Aviv University's Bob Shapell School of Social Work has found that when parents are physically abusive, children tend to accommodate it. But when the abuse is sexual, they tend to fight or flee it unless it is severe. The findings, published in Child Abuse & Neglect, help explain children's behavior in response to abuse and could aid in intervention and treatment.
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Poor Health of Irish Immigrants in England May Be Linked to Childhood Abuse, Study Finds

December 17, 2013—The generally poor health of Irish immigrants to England during most of the 20th century was not caused primarily by difficulties of assimilation or tensions between the two nations, but by the abuse Irish expatriates suffered as children in their homeland, according to a new study.
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Sniffing out Danger: Rutgers Scientists Say Fearful Memories Can Trigger Heightened Sense of Smell


Findings could provide better understanding of anxiety disorders like PTSD

December 12, 2013—Most people, including scientists, have assumed we can't just sniff out danger. It was thought that we become afraid of an odor—such as leaking gas—only after information about a scary scent is processed by our brain. But neuroscientists at Rutgers University studying the olfactory—sense of smell—system in mice have discovered that this fear reaction can occur at the sensory level, even before the brain has the opportunity to interpret that the odor could mean trouble.
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Contractors Who Worked in Conflict Zones Suffer High Rates of PTSD, Depression

December 10, 2013—Private contractors who worked in Iraq, Afghanistan or other conflict environments over the past two years report suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression more often than military personnel who served in recent conflicts, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
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Talk Therapy May Reverse Biological Changes in PTSD Patients


A study of biological markers of PTSD in Biological Psychiatry

December 3, 2013—A new paper published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) not only reduces symptoms but also affects the underlying biology of this disorder.
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Hypersensitivity to Pain Produced by Early Life Stress Is Worsened by Later Stress Exposure


Study examines link between chronic pain syndromes and PTSD

Philadelphia, PA; November 5, 2013—Childhood neglect and abuse, whether physical or psychological, confers a lifetime vulnerability to stress, anxiety, and mood problems. Such early-life stress is also suspected to contribute to the development of chronic pain in adulthood.
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Brain Structure in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

November 4, 2013—Study focusing on mine disaster survivors uses brain-imaging technology to look for clues about grey matter damage in PTSD.
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Research Finds Pain in Infancy Alters Response to Stress, Anxiety Later in Life

October 30, 2013—Early life pain alters neural circuits in the brain that regulate stress, suggesting pain experienced by infants who often do not receive analgesics while undergoing tests and treatment in neonatal intensive care may permanently alter future responses to anxiety, stress and pain in adulthood, a research team led by Dr. Anne Murphy, associate director of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University, has discovered.
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Surviving, Then Thriving: Trauma Effects in Children of Holocaust Survivors


Tel Aviv University research shows children of Holocaust survivors react differently to trauma

October 29, 2013—Modern medicine usually considers trauma, both the physical and the psychological kinds, as unequivocally damaging. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University are lending support to a more philosophical view of suffering, finding that trauma, however terrible, may have distinct psychological benefits.
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Identifying Trauma Risk in Small Children Early after an Accident

September 23, 2013—Accidents also traumatize small children. Around one in ten children still suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder a year after a road accident or burn injury, reliving aspects of the traumatic experience in the form of flashbacks or nightmares. In doing so, young children keep replaying the stressful memories while avoiding anything that might remind them of the accident in any way. As a result of this constant alertness to threatening memories, the children can develop sleeping disorders, concentration problems or aggressive behavior.
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In the Face of Trauma, Distance May Help People Find Clarity

AUSTIN, TX; August 22, 2013—In the wake of tragedies such as the Sandy Hook school shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing and the devastating explosion in the Texas town of West, people are often left asking, “Why did this happen?”

According to new research from The University of Texas at Austin, the best way to make sense of tragedy is to turn away from detailed reports in the news and social media and adopt a more simplified understanding of the event.
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Why Is Orange the New Black for Female Victims of Trauma?


New study explores the pathways that lead to jail time for women

Los Angeles, CA; August 2, 2013—How do pathways to jail vary for females who are victims of specific types of trauma? New research published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, a SAGE journal, pinpoints the types of trauma such as caregiver violence, witnessing violence, and intimate partner violence, that lead to specific types of offending later in life and offers explanations based on real experiences.

In addition to finding specific patterns in patient history, the researchers also found that the women they interviewed had high rates of mental health disorders.
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Exposure to Stress Even before Conception Causes Genetic Changes to Offspring

July 8, 2013—A female's exposure to distress even before she conceives causes changes in the expression of a gene linked to the stress mechanism in the body—in the ovum and later in the brains of the offspring from when they are born, according to a new study on rats conducted by the University of Haifa.

"The systemic similarity in many instances between us and mice raises questions about the transgenerational influences in humans as well, for example, the effects of the Second Lebanon War or the security situation in the South on the children of those who went through those difficult experiences," the researchers said. "If until now we saw evidence only of behavioral effects, now we've found proof of effects at the genetic level."
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Exercise Reorganizes the Brain to Be More Resilient to Stress

July 3, 2013—Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function, according to a research team based at Princeton University. The researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience that when mice allowed to exercise regularly experienced a stressor—exposure to cold water—their brains exhibited a spike in the activity of neurons that shut off excitement in the ventral hippocampus, a brain region shown to regulate anxiety. These findings potentially resolve a discrepancy in research related to the effect of exercise on the brain.
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Vietnam Vets with PTSD More than Twice as Likely to Have Heart Disease

June 25, 2013—Male twin Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were more than twice as likely as those without PTSD to develop heart disease during a 13-year period, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.
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Resilience in Trying Times: A Result of Positive Actions

New York / Heidelberg; June 12, 2013—Communities that stick together and do good for others cope better with crises and are happier for it, according to a new study by University of British Columbia researcher John Helliwell and colleagues. Their work suggests that part of the reason for this greater resilience is the fact that humans are more than simply social beings, they are so-called 'pro-social' beings. In other words, they get happiness not just from doing things with others, but from doing things both with and for others. The paper is published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.
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Psychotherapy Produces Biological Changes in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

May 25, 2013—A new study published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics examines whether treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) produce measureable biological changes.
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For Combat Veterans with PTSD, Fear Circuitry in the Brain Never Rests

NEW YORK; May 18, 2013—Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or under-react in response to stressful tasks, such as recalling a traumatic event or reacting to a photo of a threatening face. Now, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have explored for the first time what happens in the brains of combat veterans with PTSD in the absence of external triggers.
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Repeat Brain Injury Raises Soldiers' Suicide Risk

Salt Lake City; May 15, 2013—People in the military who suffer more than one mild traumatic brain injury face a significantly higher risk of suicide, according to research by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.

A survey of 161 military personnel who were stationed in Iraq and evaluated for a possible traumatic brain injury—also known as TBI—showed that the risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors increased not only in the short term, as measured during the past 12 months, but during the individual's lifetime.
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Brain Imaging Study Links Cannabinoid Receptors to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

NEW YORK, May 14, 2013—In a first-of-its-kind effort to illuminate the biochemical impact of trauma, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a connection between the quantity of cannabinoid receptors in the human brain, known as CB1 receptors, and post-traumatic stress disorder, the chronic, disabling condition that can plague trauma victims with flashbacks, nightmares and emotional instability. Their findings, which appear online today in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, will also be presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry in San Francisco.
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PTSD Research: Distinct Gene Activity Patterns from Childhood Abuse

May 1, 2013—Abuse during childhood is different. A study of adult civilians with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) has shown that individuals with a history of childhood abuse have distinct, profound changes in gene activity patterns, compared to adults with PTSD but without a history of child abuse.

Betrayed: Why All Trauma Is Not Equal

March 18, 2013—When the topic of trauma comes up, we often wonder why some people are more resilient than others. In other words, some have a greater capacity to work through trauma effects on their own, while others fall victim to a variety of persistent psychological symptoms—and even posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  We know that the quality of early attachment is related to resilience, but it’s also clear that there are other factors that come into play. One new study just out from the APA's Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) sheds more light on why some people end up with PTSD and others don't.
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Dwelling on Stressful Events Can Increase
Inflammation in the Body, Study Finds

ATHENS, Ohio; March 13, 2013—Dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body, a new Ohio University study finds.
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