A model for disrupting an encoded traumatic memory.
Ruden, R. A. (2007). Traumatology, 13(1)71-75.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a chronic and sometimes progressive illness. It has been hypothesized that PTSD is encoded in such a way that retrieval of a traumatic memory not only causes the individual to experience fear but also reconsolidates the linkage between the memory and the fear response, thus preventingdesensitization. Recent work on conditioned fear, however, has shown that reactivation of these consolidated memories returns them to a protein synthetic—dependent state that makes the linkage subject to disruption. This article describes a theoretical model for the surprising effectiveness of a therapy for PTSD. It is proposed that, after activation of the fear response, tapping on certain areas of the body increases serotonin release. This increase in serotonin appears to disrupt the linkage between the thought and the emotional response. Using this approach,other disorders such as phobias, certain types of chronic pain, and other pathologically encoded negative emotive states may also be curable.