Body Essay Mind Stress
Yet as the memory of each conflict faded in public awareness, the wave passed, and the experiences of traumatized people faded into the background of our collective consciousness. Psychoanalyst Abram Kardiner (1941) wrote a report about the symptoms of soldiers called The Traumatic Neuroses of War.He observed that even people who had been highly functional before combat were now dissociated from their bodies and their emotions.Androstenedione and testosterone, hormones that stimulate libido, were three to five times higher than normal.When stressed, they produced less of the primary stress hormone cortisol, as their bodies had learned to adapt to ongoing stress.Returning veterans faced a lack of social and medical recognition.
It was called “soldier’s heart” or what we would today call PTSD.
There are now thousands of studies of PTSD and of treatments for the condition, and they paint a disturbing yet hopeful picture.
They show the profound disruption in brain and body function produced by trauma.
Our understanding of human development has been enriched over the past four decades by an “awful gift” in the form or research into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I have been the primary investigator in many studies of PTSD published in peer-reviewed journals, and I recently completed a scientific review entitled “Psychological Trauma: Healing Its Roots in Brain, Body, and Memory” (Church, 2015).