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ISSN: 2378-5756

Journal of Psychiatry
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Review Article

Neurophysiology of Aggression in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Stanley E Smerin1*, Aiqin Chen2 and He Li1*

1Department of Psychiatry and Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, USA

2Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology; and Research Center of Neurobiology, Fujian Medical University, China

*Corresponding Authors:
Stanley E Smerin
Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
Tel: 3012953295
Fax: 3012951536
E-mail: [email protected]

He Li
Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
Tel: 3012953295
Fax: 3012951536
E-mail: [email protected]

Received December 16, 2015; Accepted April 28, 2016; Published May 05, 2016

Citation: Smerin SE, Chen A, Li H (2016) Neurophysiology of Aggression in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. J Psychiatry 19: 364 doi:10.4172/2378-5756.1000364

Copyright: © 2016 Smerin SE, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a universal anxiety disorder, affecting not only soldiers but also victims of every sort of traumatic stress-natural disaster, automobile collision, crime, domestic violence, bereavement. Aggressiveness, stemming from “intermittent explosive anger”, is a not infrequent comorbidity of PTSD, with the most serious consequences. The neurophysiology of aggression and anger in general, and PTSD in particular, is a jigsaw puzzle of which we are first gathering the pieces. In this chapter, PTSD is conceptualized as revolving around an idée fix of the traumatic experience, leading to fear and a derivative defensive form of aggression. The history of research in the neurophysiology of aggression and pertinent forms of memory and emotion are then reviewed, leading to a neuronal system that spans the brain. Some basic phenomena in neurophysiology are touched onsynaptic plasticity in the form of long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission, G-protein–coupled receptor modulation thereof, and the theta rhythm of the electroencephalogram-and the path we are following in our attempt to integrate these phenomena into a model of the neurophysiology of aggression in PTSD is described.

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