Posttraumatic stress disorder, allostatic load, and medical illness [chapter]

Matthew J. Friedman, Bruce S. McEwen
Trauma and health: Physical health consequences of exposure to extreme stress.  
In this chapter we present a psychobiological conceptual framework that accounts for the mounting evidence that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a risk factor for medical illness. First we describe the human response to stress to provide the context for the ensuing discussion. Then we summarize the extensive literature on the relationship of chronic stress syndrome to medical illness. Next we review the biological alterations associated with chronic PTSD and how these PTSD-related
more » ... PTSD-related psychobiological abnormalities might increase the risk for medical illness among affected individuals. Then we introduce the allostatic load model (McEwen, 1998; McEwen & Stellar, 1993) and demonstrate how this theoretical approach enables us to understand the etiological significance of such abnormalities. Finally, we discuss how the allostatic load model helps us conceptualize resilience, prevention, and treatment. This chapter was coauthored by an employee of the United States government as part of official duty and is considered to be in the public domain. Any views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the United States government, and the author's participation in the work is not meant to serve as an official endorsement.
doi:10.1037/10723-007 fatcat:ispyjuso65hvpgoocmuixhuw4a