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The incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the U.S. is two times greater for women than for men.
The few studies that looked into sex differences related to PTSD development indicate that multiple behavioral, cognitive, and physiological factors are involved. However, research into these factors has been lacking until recently.
What investigators discovered in 2014 is that:
The stress hormone measured in the 2014 study is the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) that is released by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system in the brain.
“While these findings do not directly address why women have higher rates of PTSD, our study suggests that there are sex differences in reactivity of a major stress response system, and that reproductive hormones may interact with stress responses,” said researcher Sabra S. Inslicht, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco.
Four other areas of concern that might contribute to higher rates of PTSD among women, but require further study, are related to sleep, psychological, and societal factors:
“One of the important topics future research should focus on is elucidating roles of men and women’s unique physiology...in PTSD development, maintenance, and recovery,” says researcher Ihori Kobayashi, Ph.D., Howard University, Washington D.C.
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