TEENS WITH PTSD MISIDENTIFY FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

I read about an interesting finding this week: Teens with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often look at a sad or angry face and see fear.

This sheds new light on a disorder tied to heightened threat perception, which can trigger fight-or-flight responses. Misreading social cues could contribute to the stress PTSD sufferers feel in what others perceive as non-stressful situations.

There was another group of teens who misidentified facial expressions in the study. Teens diagnosed with conduct disorder often saw anger in faces that were actually sad. It makes sense–people with conduct disorder tend to show callousness or aggressiveness where others might show empathy. Seeing the wrong emotion in a face would influence behavior in that way.

So what do we do with this information? We incorporate it into treatment. Helping people with PTSD or conduct disorder recognize what emotions their peers are feeling could change the way they respond to their environment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Accountability and Mental Health

Patients have a direct role and responsibility in their mental health. A person could have years of counseling and medication services, yet if there is no accountability on the patient’s part then what good would they do? 

Depressed? It May Be the Time Change

A Danish study recently found that depression diagnoses go up significantly (8 percent) in the month following the change from Daylight Savings Time back to standard time.

Self-Compassion and Your Mental Health

Perfectionism — ever-unattainable! — is bad for your mental health. People who expect perfection are often overly critical of mistakes, which can lead to depression.

Medicating for Depression: the Basics

When someone comes to me with depression, the first decision we make together is whether we’ll treat with therapy, medication, or both. In my experience, a combination of the two is the most effective approach.