Dr. Frank Bourke, executive director of the PTSD Research and Recognition Project, explains the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a curable mental illness that is best known for affecting veterans of brutal wars, but also can change the lives of people who experience any kind of serious trauma from sources such as auto accidents or crimes. The principal symptoms are terrifying nightmares and flashbacks brought on by experiences that resemble the initial trauma. PTSD cannot be cured by drugs and ordinary therapy is only effective about 35% of the time. The Research and Recognition Project has developed a technique Dr. Bourke calls “reconsolidation of traumatic memories,” which is based on disconnecting the traumatic memory from its emotional response.
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