The Reward System and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Does Trauma Affect the Way We Interact With Positive Stimuli?

Rebecca Seidemann, Or Duek, Ruonan Jia, Ifat Levy, Ilan Harpaz-Rotem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly prevalent disorder and a highly debilitating condition. Although anhedonia is an important construct of the disorder, the relationship between PTSD and reward functioning is still under-researched. To date, the majority of research on PTSD has focused on fear: fear learning, maintenance, and extinction. Here we review the relevant literature—including clinical observations, self-report data, neuroimaging research, and animal studies—in order to examine the potential effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on the reward system. Our current lack of sufficient insight into how trauma affects the reward system is one possible hindrance to clinical progress. The current review highlights the need for further investigation into the complex relationship between exposure to trauma and the reward system to further our understandings of the ethology of PTSD.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalChronic Stress
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • MDD
  • PTSD
  • anhedonia
  • emotional numbing
  • negative valence
  • positive valence
  • reward system
  • stress
  • trauma

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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