Biology Through the Lens of Trauma: An Empirical Review of Trauma Treatments

Adela Gharabeki


The present literature review aims at mending the research to practice gap for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Biological mechanisms of the stress response system are explored as they pertain to trauma and its subsequent effects on the brain and body. In addition, American Psychological Association (APA) recommended evidence-based treatments for PTSD are reviewed as well as more recent emerging somatic therapies. There is a critical need for further development in the area of both top-down and bottom-up interventions. Biological working mechanisms remain unknown for a majority of treatments and physiological measures are scarcely used in treatment outcome research. Somatic therapies contribute beneficial knowledge to the field of trauma treatments, suggesting that physiology may provide additional entry points in therapy. Future directions and clinical implications on the treatment of PTSD are discussed.