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The classification of post-traumatic stress disorder as a disorder of memory based on the current understanding of its pathogenesis

Weeder, P.D. (2011) The classification of post-traumatic stress disorder as a disorder of memory based on the current understanding of its pathogenesis. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

It is considered normal for people who have sustained some form of (psychological) trauma to go through a period of time during which they psychologically recuperate from the trauma. Unfortunately, some people who go through trauma do not recover and are persistently affected by it. In this case they may be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric disorder that is currently classified as an anxiety disorder. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the classification of PTSD as an anxiety disorder in relation to what is currently known about its etiology. The thesis is a (non-systematic) literature study to investigate these questions. After providing a definition of PTSD, research from different perspectives is reviewed. These include the role of anxiety, memory and sleep. Secondly, the efficacy of different available therapies is looked into. Iin the past, a fear-conditioning model was used to explain the syndrome seen in PTSD. However, progress made in the field of memory research has changed this view. It is now believed that the mechanism underlying PTSD is a problem of memory. There is an important role for cortisol and adrenalin, both substrates of the physiological stress response, in the consolidation and retrieval of memory. It has been suggested that sleep may play a role in this process. However, no evidence was found to support this hypothesis. Cognitive behavioural therapy and eye-movement desensitization and reprogramming are moderately effective treatments, but lack a rational explanation for their mode of action. The conclusion is that, with the current understanding of its pathogenesis, PTSD is not an anxiety disorder. Moreover, because fear or anxiety is not the most prominent symptom it also doesn’t fit the definition of anxiety disorders as derived from psychology. Based on the literature reviewed by this thesis, it would better to define PTSD as a memory disorder.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:46
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:46
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9780

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