Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Healthcare

New drug holds promise for post-traumatic stress disorder

See also

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is suffered by many service members returning from the battlefield. It also occurs in civilian life by anyone involved in a tragic event such as a home break-in, carjacking, natural disaster, or terrorist attack. Tragic events become deeply imbedded in a portion of the brain known as the limbic system. These memories remain vivid for a long period because they are involved in survival; they increase the chance of an appropriate response if a similar event occurs in the future. Traumatic experiences cause the individual to feel intense fear, horror, or helplessness. The survivor is unable to get the event out of his or her mind. PTSD can affect many aspects of a person’s life, particularly day-to-day functioning, quality of life, and relationships. A new study has found that a new drug holds promise for helping individuals with PTSD recover from the disorder. The study results were published on January 16 in the journal Cell by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, and Washington University School of Medicine.

The study authors note that effective strategies to diminish long-term traumatic memories are scarce. The most effective treatments to reduce the impact of traumatic events employ memory updating mechanisms that occur during memory recall. The team of neuroscientists evaluated the effects of a drug known as an HDAC2 inhibitor. When used in rats, the drug appeared to help the rodents overcome traumatic memories. The researchers are of the opinion that, in the near future, an HDAC2 inhibitor could help treat individuals with PTSD, particularly those for whom psychotherapy is not effective. However, they caution that the older the memory, the more difficult it was to overcome, even with the help of the drug.

Three main symptom clusters characterize PTSD:

  • The person will re-experience the event through distressing images, unwanted memories, nightmares, or flashbacks. These re-experiences will cause distress and such physical symptoms as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and other signs of panic.
  • The person will avoid reminders of the event, including people, places, or things associated with the trauma, and become emotionally numb, constricted, or generally detached from or unresponsive to surrounding activities and people.
  • The person will experience physical symptoms reflecting a state of anxiety or hyperarousal. These symptoms may include insomnia, irritability, impaired concentration, hypervigilance, and increased startle responses.


  • Dead babies found
    Seven dead babies were found in Utah resident Megan Huntsman's old home
    Shocking Discovery
  • Kendall Jenner
    Get the Coachella looks: Kendall Jenner’s nose ring, green hair and edgy nails
    Coachella Look
  • Dog's Easter basket
    How to fill your dog’s Easter basket with the perfect toys
    Easter Basket
  • Rabbit owners
    Bringing home the bunny: Important information for rabbit owners
    7 Photos
  • Haunted island
    The world’s most haunted island may soon be the most haunted luxury resort
    Haunted Resort
  • Sunken ferry
    Search continues for missing passengers after a ferry sinks off the South Korean coast
    Sunken Ferry

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!