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Physiologic Responses to Loud Tones in Israeli Patients With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Arieh Y. Shalev, MD; Scott P. Orr, PhD; Tuvia Peri, MA; Shaul Schreiber, MD; Roger K. Pitman, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(11):870-875. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820110034005.
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• Orbicularis oculi (eye blink) electromyogram, skin conductance, and heart rate responses to 15 consecutive 95-dB, 500-millisecond, 1000-Hz tones with 0-millisecond rise and fall times were measured in 14 patients with posttraumatic stress disorder, 14 patients with other anxiety disorders, 15 mentally healthy subjects with past traumatic experiences, and 19 mentally healthy subjects with no trauma history. The patients with posttraumatic stress disorder showed significantly larger skin conductance and heart rate responses and a trend toward larger electromyogram responses to the tones than every other group. These effects were not explained by subjective anxiety, resting physiologic arousal, physiologic arousal preceding the tone trials, or initial physiologic responsivity. The group with posttraumatic stress disorder was the only one that failed to show habituation of skin conductance responses.

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