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Polygence Scholar2022
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Oktay Gonen

high_schoolClass of 2024Walnut Creek, California



  • "Emotional Trauma and the Brain" with mentor Christian (Dec. 17, 2022)

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Emotional Trauma and the Brain

Started Mar. 11, 2022

Abstract or project description

Although around 90% of Americans have experienced a traumatic event in their life qualifying for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), only 7% end up being diagnosed with PTSD. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder thought to be caused by a traumatic event in a person’s life. However, very few people that experienced a traumatic event end up developing PTSD symptoms, and this is hypothesized to be due to pre-existing physiological and psychological conditions.Treating PTSD is often difficult because there are a wide variety of symptoms affecting patients. The main four categories of symptoms are intrusive thoughts, physical irritability, avoidance, and negative emotions. The pre-existing conditions that make certain people more susceptible to develop PTSD include physiological symptoms such as low cortisol, and psychological symptoms such as a history of poor coping and low social support to deal with trauma. A particular reason it is difficult to conduct experiments and treat patients for PTSD is that it is confusing for individuals to recognize and recollect their trauma and accurately explain their symptoms. Understanding what trauma is and the variety of variables affecting how symptoms are interpreted by patients presents some of the many difficulties for researchers to understand the underlying causes of PTSD. Here we will review the relevant literature regarding pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for PTSD, including their limitations in efficacy and data collection.