Understanding Resilience and Preventing and Treating PTSD

Author: Sarah R Horn, Adriana Feder
Affiliation: 1 From the Department of Psychology, University of Oregon (Ms. Horn); Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Dr. Feder).
Conference/Journal: Harvard review of psychiatry
Date published: 2018 May-Jun
Other: Volume ID: 26 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 158-174 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000194. , Word Count: 187

Resilience is defined as the dynamic ability to adapt successfully in the face of adversity, trauma, or significant threat. Some of the key early studies of resilience were observational studies in children. They were followed by research in adults, studies testing interventions to promote resilience in different populations, and a recent upsurge of studies on the underlying genomic and neurobiological mechanisms. Neural and molecular studies in preclinical models of resilience are also increasingly identifying active stress adaptations in resilient animals. Knowledge gained from animal and human studies of resilience can be harnessed to develop new preventive interventions to enhance resilience in at-risk populations. Further, treatment interventions focused on enhancing potentially modifiable protective factors that are consistently linked to psychological resilience can enrich currently available treatment interventions for individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Translating our expanding knowledge of the neurobiology of resilience additionally promises to yield novel therapeutic strategies for treating this disabling condition. This review summarizes the vast field of resilience research spanning genomic, psychosocial, and neurobiological levels, and discusses how findings have led and can lead to new preventive and treatment interventions for PTSD.

PMID: 29734229