Metabolic dysfunctions in people with post-traumatic stress disorder

Francesco Bartoli 1 2, Cristina Crocamo 1, Giuseppe Carrà 1-3

1Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; 2 Department of Mental Health & Addiction. Bassini Hospital. ASST Nord Milano, Italy; 3 Division of Psychiatry, University College, London, UK

DOI 10.36148/2284-0249-372


The association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and metabolic dysfunctions has attracted growing attention in recent years. Understanding and identifying common inflammatory and neuroendocrine mechanisms can help clinicians to improve the treatment and prognosis of these co-occurring conditions. 


We conducted an overview, summarizing biological mechanisms and related biomarkers underlying the relationship between PTSD and metabolic dysfunctions


Evidence suggests that PTSD may be associated with metabolic abnormalities. Metabolic syndrome in PTSD may impact both cardiovascular health and central nervous system functions. The role of traumatic events in influencing inflammatory and immuno-metabolic systems seems supported by available studies. Exposure to trauma may determine neuroendocrine responses and long-lasting changes in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, affecting its physiological activity


Dysfunctional adaptation to stress may increase the vulnerability to metabolic abnormalities which, in turn, may favor the occurrence of psychopathological features after traumatic experiences. Approaching PTSD as a systemic condition by assessing, monitoring, and treating metabolic variations may lead to a significant improvement in its management and prognosis. Further research is needed to test novel treatments for PTSD, targeting neuroendocrine and immune-metabolic systems. 

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