Toward a Psychobiology of Posttraumatic Self-Dysregulation

Reexperiencing, Hyperarousal, Dissociation, and Emotional Numbing


Address for correspondence: Ruth A. Lanius, M.D., Ph.D., Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, UWO and London Health Sciences Centre, 39 Windermere Road, PO Box 5339, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5A5. Voice: 519-663-3306; fax: 519-663-3935.


Abstract: In this article we propose a psychobiological model that construes PTSD fundamentally as a disorder of affect arousal regulation. Neuroimaging studies of emotion regulation in psychologically healthy populations are initially reviewed as a framework for interpreting the results of previously published investigations of the neural correlates of PTSD reexperiencing and dissociation. We then apply the emotion regulation framework toward understanding other perturbed affective states in PTSD. We conclude by discussing the clinical significance of this framework for psychological assessment and treatment of posttrauma psychopathology.