Traumatic Stress Affects Boys and Girls Differently, Scientists Say

Nov 16, 2016 04:10 AM EST

Researchers have confirmed that stress affects boys and girls differently after observing the surrounding brain bructure of male and female patients suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Stress is something that most people consider a normal part of everyday life. According to statistics, 75 percent of the U.S. population experience physical and psychological symptoms caused by stress. Each individual have different ways to cope with stress. Nevertheless, there are some that develop mental illness, specifically PTSD, following a bout with a stressful situation.

It is estimated that 5.2 million people across the country live with PTSD at any given year. Considering the daunting statistics, conducting research surrounding the debilitating disorder is imperative. Over the years, there have been significant strides in understanding more about PTSD. Recently, scientists from the United States uncovered what could be the truth surrounding PTSD in males and females.

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In a journal article published by Depression Anxiety last November 11, experts from Stanford University of Medicine discovered differences surrounding the structure of the brain between female and male patients suffering from PTSD. The study explains that the insula, a region of the brain that processes emotions and empathy, are starkly different with female PTSD patients and male PTSD patients.

"The difference we saw between the brains of boys and girls who have experienced psychological trauma is important because it may help explain differences in trauma symptoms between sexes" detailed Victor Carrion M.D., one of the senior authors of the study, as reported by Science Daily.

Amongst the boys that participated in the study, those with PTSD have larger insulas both in volume and in surface area than boys who are not suffering from PTSD. Alternatively, girls with PTSD seem to have smaller insulas than girls who do not.

Mega Klabunde, lead author of the research, explains that their discovery is very important in developing treatment for trauma. Having found out that PTSD manifests itself differently in male and female, treatment should also be different:

"Our findings suggest it is possible that boys and girls could exhibit different trauma symptoms and that they might benefit from different approaches to treatment."

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