• PTSD;
  • hippocampus;
  • pharmacotherapy;
  • stress;
  • neurogenesis;
  • paroxetine;
  • depression

Abstract: Brain imaging studies have mapped out the neural circuitry of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), implicating brain areas sensitive to stress such as the hippocampus. Animal studies show that antidepressants promote hippocampal neurogenesis and block the effects of stress on the hippocampus. We found that treatment of PTSD patients for a year with the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine resulted in a 5% increase in hippocampal volume and a 35% improvement in verbal declarative memory function. Patients subjectively reported an improvement in cognition and work performance. These studies are consistent with the idea that antidepressants have a beneficial effect on hippocampal function in PTSD patients.