VCU EXPERT ADVISORY: Mental Health Awareness Week Oct. 3-9

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Ananda B. Amstadter, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, is available for comment on the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children, teens and adults who have been exposed to traumatic events, and in combat veterans.

Amstadter, who recently joined VCU, is an active researcher in the area of traumatic stress – specifically determining genetic predictors of traumatic stress-related conditions and gene-by-environment interaction. Through support from a National Institutes of Health grant, Amstadter and her team are examining the effects of combat history and PTSD status on stress reactivity and subsequent drinking behavior in emerging adults, as well as the role of genetic variants that may play a role in stress-related drinking. Through another NIH grant she is examining the genetic substrates of PTSD in a large epidemiologic study of disaster-exposed youths.

Through her work, she hopes to help to develop an upfront treatment that may prevent PTSD and associated disorders or reduce suffering of those who encounter it.

In other work, Amstadter is a co-investigator on a research project to develop and determine the effectiveness of a web-based intervention for children and families affected by a disaster.

Amstadter also has research interest in the identification of modifiable risk factors for PTSD and related conditions, evidence-based psychosocial interventions for traumatic stress populations and comorbidity between substance abuse and PTSD.

She has published more than 50 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and has served as an ad-hoc reviewer for a number of journals.

She has been widely recognized for her research efforts, receiving the 2010 Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the 2009 International Society for Psychiatric Genetics Early Career Award and the 2008 NIH/National Institutes for Mental Health post-doctoral National Research Service Award.