November 1992

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

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Traumatic Stress, Hadassah University Hospital and Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel (Drs Shalev and Schreiber and Mr Peri); and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Manchester, NH, and the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Drs Orr and Pitman).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(11):870-875. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820110034005

• 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.