Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Oxidative Stress Hypothesis

One hypothesis suggests that the development of post traumatic stress disorder is due to the presence of chronic stress. This stress likely causes high levels of circulating stress hormones and the development of inflammation. It has been suggested that the free radicals produced by the inflammation damage brain tissue and cause structural changes that affect the behaviour of the individual, particularly in the hippocampus. There is a possibility that the presence of these free radicals can also damage other tissues leading to a range of associated health conditions that may include heart disease and cancer. However, the brain is highly susceptible to the damaging effects of free radicals because it contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats and glucose. Post traumatic disorder is a form of anxiety and antioxidants have been shown to be an effective long-term treatment for anxiety. A diet high in plant foods containing antioxidants may therefore be a potential treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Miller, M. W. and Sadeh, N. 2014. Traumatic stress, oxidative stress and post-traumatic stress disorder: neurodegeneration and the accelerated-aging hypothesis. Molecular Psychiatry. 19(11): 1156-1162

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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