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Molecular and clinical psychotraumatology

Management

Dr. Ulrike Schmidt

Background

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness associated with high levels of suffering and often leads to social withdrawal and incapacity to work. It can occur after traumatic experiences such as (sexual) violence, serious accidents, natural disasters or emotional neglect in childhood. The main symptoms of PTSD are reverberating memories (flashbacks) up to dissociation, avoidance of trauma-associated memory stimuli, nervous hyperexcitability and a feeling of numbness. Exposure-based psychotherapy methods show good efficacy against this syndrome, but treatment places are scarce and the duration of treatment long. Antidepressants of the SSRI type are also effective in PTSD treatment, but not in all patients, and in many cases they do not lead to full remission of symptoms. There is therefore an urgent need to optimise the treatment options for PTSD. The identification of molecular targets for novel drugs (so-called drug targets) is therefore one of the main goals of PTSD research, another is the identification of biomarkers that could help in the selection of the most suitable individual therapeutic procedure, the differential diagnostic classification and the prevention of this severe disease. In comparison to these two topics, which Ulrike Schmidt and her former research group at the MPI for Psychiatry in Munich worked on until the end of 2017, research is being conducted on the molecular basis of emotional instability and dissociation.

Overall objectives

For this reason, our research group has set itself the goal of elucidating the molecular and psychological mechanisms of emotional instability and dissociation, which have so far only been fragmentarily known, in the context of the overall research concept of our clinic, which is oriented towards the study of ADHD and related diseases.

Team

Dr. Helena Rosen
Moaz Al Istwani

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