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Concept: Hypervigilance


Domestic violence in the perinatal period is associated with adverse obstetric outcomes, but evidence is limited on its association with perinatal mental disorders. We aimed to estimate the prevalence and odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental disorders (depression and anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], eating disorders, and psychoses).

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Abnormal psychology, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, Anxiety disorders, Hypervigilance


Survivors of sexual violence have high rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although treatment for symptoms related to sexual violence has been shown to be effective in high-income countries, evidence is lacking in low-income, conflict-affected countries.

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Anxiety disorder, Sertraline, Rape, Hypervigilance


Alcoholism is frequently co-morbid with post-traumatic stress disorder, but it is unclear how alcohol affects the neural circuits mediating recovery from trauma. We found that chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) impaired fear extinction and remodeled the dendritic arbor of medial prefrontal cortical (mPFC) neurons in mice. CIE impaired extinction encoding by infralimbic mPFC neurons in vivo and functionally downregulated burst-mediating NMDA GluN1 receptors. These findings suggest that alcohol may increase risk for trauma-related anxiety disorders by disrupting mPFC-mediated extinction of fear.

Concepts: Anxiety, Alcohol abuse, Mental disorder, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Hypervigilance


Object Although it has been reported that awake neurosurgical procedures are well tolerated, the long-term occurrence of general psychological sequelae has not yet been investigated. This study assessed the frequency and effects of psychological symptoms after an awake craniotomy on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Methods Sixteen patients undergoing an awake surgery were surveyed with a self-developed questionnaire, the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Inventory For Awake Surgery Patients, which adopts the core components of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) criteria. The mean time between surgery and data collection was 97.3 ± 93.2 weeks. Health-related quality of life was assessed with the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Results Forty-four percent of the patients stated that they had experienced either repetitive distressing recollections or dreams related to the awake surgery, 18.8% stated persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the awake surgery, and symptoms of increased arousal occurred in 62.5%. Two patients presented with postoperative psychological sequelae resembling PTSD symptoms. Younger age at surgery and female sex were risk factors for symptoms of increased arousal. The experience of intense anxiety during awake surgery appears to favor the development of postsurgical PTSD symptoms, while recurrent distressing recollections particularly affect HRQOL negatively. Conclusions In many cases awake craniotomy is necessary to preserve language and motor function. However, in some cases awake craniotomy can lead to postoperative psychological sequelae resembling PTSD symptoms. Therefore, possible long-term effects of an awake surgery should be considered and discussed with the patient when planning this type of surgery.

Concepts: Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Anxiety disorder, Rape, PTSD, Hypervigilance


Social cognition deficits are observed in a variety of psychiatric illnesses. However, data concerning anxiety disorders are sparse and difficult to interpret. This meta-analysis aims at determining if social cognition is affected in social phobia (SP) or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to non-clinical controls and the specificity of such deficits relatively to other anxiety disorders. The scoping review aims to identify research gaps in the field. Forty studies assessing mentalizing, emotion recognition, social perception/knowledge or attributional style in anxiety disorders were included, totalizing 1417 anxious patients and 1321 non-clinical controls. Results indicate distinct patterns of social cognition impairments: people with PTSD show deficits in mentalizing (effect size d=-1.13) and emotion recognition (d=-1.6) while other anxiety disorders including SP showed attributional biases (d=-0.53 to d=-1.15). The scoping review identified several under investigated domains of social cognition in anxiety disorders. Some recommendations are expressed for future studies to explore the full range of social cognition in anxiety disorders and allow direct comparisons between different disorders.

Concepts: Psychology, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Abnormal psychology, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, Fear, Anxiety disorders, Hypervigilance


Yoga is increasingly used as a therapeutic treatment and seems to improve psychiatric conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the evidence of yoga for reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, Anxiety disorders, Hypervigilance


Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the United States in October 2012, causing billions of dollars in damage and acute physical and mental health problems. The long-term mental health consequences of the storm and their predictors have not been studied. New York City and Long Island residents completed questionnaires regarding their initial Hurricane Sandy exposure and mental health symptoms at baseline and 1 year later (N = 130). There were statistically significant decreases in anxiety scores (mean difference = -0.33, p < 0.01) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) scores (mean difference = -1.98, p = 0.001) between baseline and follow-up. Experiencing a combination of personal and property damage was positively associated with long-term PTSD symptoms (ORadj 1.2, 95% CI [1.1-1.4]) but not with anxiety or depression. Having anxiety, depression, or PTSD at baseline was a significant predictor of persistent anxiety (ORadj 2.8 95% CI [1.1-6.8], depression (ORadj 7.4 95% CI [2.3-24.1) and PTSD (ORadj 4.1 95% CI [1.1-14.6]) at follow-up. Exposure to Hurricane Sandy has an impact on PTSD symptoms that persists over time. Given the likelihood of more frequent and intense hurricanes due to climate change, future hurricane recovery efforts must consider the long-term effects of hurricane exposure on mental health, especially on PTSD, when providing appropriate assistance and treatment.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Prolonged exposure therapy, Sertraline, PTSD, Hypervigilance


Phase 2 trials of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy have demonstrated initial safety and efficacy for treatment of PTSD, with potential for expansion to depression and anxiety disorders. In these trials, single doses of MDMA are administered in a model of medication-assisted psychotherapy, differing from trials involving daily drug administration without psychotherapy. This model presents an opportunity to utilize accelerated regulatory pathways, such as FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation, to most effectively and expeditiously test such novel approaches. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Psychology, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, All rights reserved, Hypervigilance, Copyright


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with adverse outcomes and increased mortality in cardiac patients. No studies have examined PTSD in the adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) population. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of self-reported symptoms of PTSD in patients with ACHD and explore potential associated factors. Patients were enrolled from an outpatient ACHD clinic and completed several validated measures including the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Clinical data were abstracted through medical data review. A total of 134 participants (mean age 34.6 ± 10.6; 46% men) were enrolled. Of the 127 participants who completed the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, 14 (11%) met criteria for elevated PTSD symptoms specifically related to their congenital heart disease or treatment. Of the 134 patients who completed PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, 27 (21%) met criteria for global PTSD symptoms. In univariate analyses, patients with congenital heart disease-specific PTSD had their most recent cardiac surgery at an earlier year (p = 0.008), were less likely to have attended college (p = 0.04), had higher rates of stroke or transient ischemic attack (p = 0.03), and reported greater depressive symptoms on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (7 vs 2, p <0.001). In multivariable analysis, the 2 factors most strongly associated with PTSD were depressive symptoms (p <0.001) and year of most recent cardiac surgery (p <0.03). In conclusion, PTSD is present in 11% to 21% of subjects seen at a tertiary referral center for ACHD. The high prevalence of PTSD in this complex group of patients has important implications for the medical and psychosocial management of this growing population.

Concepts: Heart disease, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, Sertraline, PTSD, Hypervigilance


Controlling learned defensive responses through extinction does not alter the threat memory itself, but rather regulates its expression via inhibitory influence of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) over amygdala. Individual differences in amygdala-PFC circuitry function have been linked to trait anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. This finding suggests that exposure-based techniques may actually be least effective in those who suffer from anxiety disorders. A theoretical advantage of techniques influencing reconsolidation of threat memories is that the threat representation is altered, potentially diminishing reliance on this PFC circuitry, resulting in a more persistent reduction of defensive reactions. We hypothesized that timing extinction to coincide with threat memory reconsolidation would prevent the return of defensive reactions and diminish PFC involvement. Two conditioned stimuli (CS) were paired with shock and the third was not. A day later, one stimulus (reminded CS+) but not the other (nonreminded CS+) was presented 10 min before extinction to reactivate the threat memory, followed by extinction training for all CSs. The recovery of the threat memory was tested 24 h later. Extinction of the nonreminded CS+ (i.e., standard extinction) engaged the PFC, as previously shown, but extinction of the reminded CS+ (i.e., extinction during reconsolidation) did not. Moreover, only the nonreminded CS+ memory recovered on day 3. These results suggest that extinction during reconsolidation prevents the return of defensive reactions and diminishes PFC involvement. Reducing the necessity of the PFC-amygdala circuitry to control defensive reactions may help overcome a primary obstacle in the long-term efficacy of current treatments for anxiety disorders.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Amygdala, Memory, Limbic system, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Anxiety disorder, Hypervigilance