Why people with PTSD should have hope for recovery

A sad woman looking through a window

June 6, 2024 – Effective treatments are available to help people recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In a May 23 interview on WBUR, Koenen shared her personal experience with PTSD and how it motivated her to become a trauma researcher. After being sexually assaulted and becoming severely depressed, she found that therapy helped her to get better.

“Something everyone should know is that we do have treatments for PTSD that work. They’re called trauma-informed therapies. And you can get better,” she said. In addition to therapy, she recommended reaching out to national hotlines to talk with people who are trained to listen and can help find further resources.

Koenen currently conducts research on why people who experience the same type of traumatic experience can have different mental health symptoms. She has found that some people may suffer more because of a genetic link to previous generations of family members who also experienced trauma.

“In the long run, what we can learn from this genetic research is that it will help us identify biological pathways that can be used to develop new treatments, interventions, perhaps that can even prevent PTSD after trauma,” she said.

Listen to or read the WBUR story: ‘You can get better’: A trauma specialist’s advice for starting the recovery process

Learn more

PTSD’s genetic component validated in new study (Harvard Chan School news)

– Jay Lau

Photo: iStock/SB Arts Media