You can read an interesting article about the possible effects of post traumatic stress disorder on the brain here.  This shows that too much stress can have a damaging impact on the brain and it is almost akin to having traumatic brain damage.

The yellow areas, Schuff explained during his presentation at the city’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, showed where the hippocampus, which plays major roles in short-term memory and emotions, had atrophied.

“But we’re still in the infancy of neuroimaging,” Schuff cautioned later in his office. “Do you get PTSD because you have a small hippocampus? Or does a small hippocampus mean you’ll develop PTSD? That, we still don’t know.”

The finding that the hippocampus possibly shrinks due to PTSD is very similar to the findings in depressed patients. Patients who have major depression also tend to lose brain mass in the hippocampus over the course of their illness. Antidepressant drugs have been shown to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus, so I would imagine they might be able to stop or reverse this process in PTSD patients.

Brain Injury Lawyer is a blog about brain disorders, brain injury, brain injury lawyers and brain injury law.