Nautilus

Can PTSD Be Good for You?

There’s no way to be sure what will traumatize someone, and not everyone exposed to “trauma” develops PTSD.Wikicommons

You might think it insensitive or even offensive to ask whether PTSD could be good for someone. Who wants a disorder, let alone one caused by “post-traumatic stress”? Yet when Nautilus posed this question to Rachel Yehuda, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and the director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City—where she’s worked with war veterans, Holocaust survivors, and other trauma victims—she said, “I don’t know.”

That ambivalence partly stems from the fuzzy concept of “trauma.” There’s no way to be sure what will traumatize someone, and not everyone exposed to “trauma” develops PTSD. “We’re now having a conversation about whether all the effects

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