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The Sound of Ideas

Beyond Shell Shock:  New Insights On PTSD

Posted Monday, September 13, 2010

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Beyond Shell Shock:  New Insights On PTSD Often Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is associated with war veterans, police officers or others who've experienced acute violence. However, there are many types of trauma that can cause PTSD: witnessing a violent act, surviving a fire or a car crash, even losing a loved one. On a Science Café edition of the Sound of Ideas, we'll talk with a local psychology professor about how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs, who commonly suffers from it, and why so many people don't get the treatment that may work best for them.


Health, Mental Health, Other, Community/Human Interest


Dr. Norah Feeney, Associate Professor of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University
Loren Post, Graduate Student and PTSD Researcher, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University

Additional Information

What is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD? National Institute of Mental Health
Check out more Science Cafe Cleveland topics. Next month: Drug Delivery.
Science Cafe Cleveland is the second Monday of every month at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Drinks start at 6:30pm and the discussion is at 7pm.

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Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.

Sam 9:12 AM 9/13/10

My high school teenager does not do well in tests although she studies hard and knows her stuff. On questioning her, she mentions that her mind goes blank ot she forgets what she has studied. This is affecting her grades and her self confidence. I assume she is tense when she is taking the test.  Is is this a manifestation of PTSD in another form? If so, what can we do to help her?

Vonnie 9:33 AM 9/13/10

Do you offer a program for PTSD and if so, how do you become a part of it? Are there other programs for PTSD? Can longterm childhood abuse cause PTSD?

Tony 9:44 AM 9/13/10

Last night I saw a special on Ted Kaczynski, the unibomber.

His mother stated that when he was 9 months old he had to be hospitalized, and the 1940s way of thinking led to them only being able to visit him for two hours every other day. Two weeks later, his behavior had completely changed - apparently traumatized from abandonment. This was a behavior that lasted his entire life, and seemed to lead to his seclusion.

I wonder if there is research on PTSD affecting even infants, and perhaps leading to mental illness later in

Jeny 9:45 AM 9/13/10

I am 41 years old highly educated professional. As a child and teenager I was sexually abused several times, 2 abused me several times. In a bid to get away from my family I married early to a man who abused me emotionally, physically and sexually. I ran away with my children. I exprienced panic attacks, was depressed and eventually diagnosed with PTSD and more recently with Klpetomania. The klleptomania is the most devastating. I steal petty things from shops. I have been arrested 3 times. What is the link between PTSD and Kleptomania, can it be treated?

Joe 9:45 AM 9/13/10

I had an “awake brain surgery” a number of years ago, and remember more of it than one is supposed to.  Every day I get flashbacks of laying on that table – also of the sudden grand mal seizures I had experienced – and it can be paralyzing.  Previous to this I was not a stressed person at all.

I’ve never heard of anyone else having lasting issues like this after major surgeries.  Is this that unusual?

David in Cleveland Heights, OH 9:46 AM 9/13/10

Given the recent anniversary of 911 and the mass trauma that many of us experienced, I am reminded of a debate in the mental health field as to whether individuals exposed to trauma must receive intervention.  Can you please ask your guests to discuss a kind of intervention often given to first responders or survivors of traumatic events, called Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing, and how this kind of intervention might actually make the situation worse for the recipients of the treatment.

Toni 9:48 AM 9/13/10

Thank you for your discussion on PTSD. As I listen to this program, I didn’t think much about the disorder until you talked about certain traumas. I was recently involved in a sick joke where a car was directed toward me. I really thought I was going to die or get severely injured. It was very scary because the car kept coming towards me. Now, I find it hard to get in my car and drive in heavy traffic especially tailgating that I will get hurt. I begin to sweat and get very nervous. I never had trouble driving in the past. I am not sure how to get rid of this anxiety.



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