Prof. Omer Bonne is the head of the department of psychiatry at the Hadassah Medical Organization. Born in Jerusalem, he attended Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, did his residency in psychiatry and is currently a professor of psychiatry at the medical school.
Dr. Inbal Reuveni, MD. is the director of the Women’s Integrated Mental-Health Service at Hadassah Medical Organization. She is a graduate of the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School, Ben-Gurion, University of the Negev, Beer-Sheba. She completed her residency in adult psychiatry at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. Her current research focuses on the neurobiological imprint of exposure to childhood trauma and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Dr. Shlomo Rahmani Zwi-Ran is the head of the psychiatric ward at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. He is a graduate of the Medical School of Debrecen in Hungary and specialized in psychiatry at Smelvis University Hospital in Budapest, Hungary and at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.
When you think about PTSD, especially in a country like Israel, the first thing that may come to mind is trauma experienced on the battlefield or living in a place that can often feel on the brink of war. But, contrary to that belief, the most common form of PTSD in Israel — and around the world — is actually from motor vehicle accidents. "You usually automatically jump to the more sensational, media-related type of trauma," explained Dr. Omer Bonne, the head of the psychiatry department at Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) in Jerusalem. "But usually, all the boring day-to-day trauma will much more be the cause of PTSD than the sensational terrorist-related trauma."
All of this, and much more, is discussed in the new episode of the "Hadassah on Call" podcast where Dr. Bonne is joined by his colleagues: Dr. Inbal Reuveni, director of the Women's Integrated Mental-Health Service at HMO; and Dr. Shlomo Rahmani Zvi-Ram, head of the psychiatric ward at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.
Psychiatrists have been studying trauma for more than a century, but the term PTSD didn't become an official diagnosis until 1980. Since then, scientists like those at Hadassah have seen an increasing number of patients: those who experience a work or family trauma or sexual abuse. And in the past couple of years, they've added another cause to that list: a global pandemic. COVID-19 brought with it unique challenges. It is a collective trauma experienced by everyone across the globe.
Dr. Reuveni sees a positive side to this. "This could be a factor that increases resilience," she pointed out, noting the importance of social support in mitigating the worst effects of PTSD. "Everyone was together in this and we were staying home, and helping each other out."
Dr. Reuveni conducted research into how the pandemic was impacting pregnant women. "What we saw is actually very interesting," she explained. "As everyone is reporting, symptoms of anxiety and depression have worsened during the lockdowns and the waves of the pandemic. But actually, in pregnant women, there was some kind of protective factor. Maybe the fact that they were at home with their families or other factors that we can speculate about. We don't know. They were protected and they were less anxious and less depressed than women their age who were not pregnant."
When seeing patients who suffer from PTSD, Hadassah offers several treatments, including one known as "prolonged exposure," which consists of four parts: talking about the trauma, teaching relaxation and breathing techniques, exposure in reality (visiting the place of the trauma), and exposure in the patient’s imagination. "It's not an easy treatment because, in many cases, it's causing extreme anxiety among some patients because it's not an easy thing to be exposed," said Dr. Rahmani Zvi-Ram.
The doctors closed out the podcast conversation talking about their hopes for the future of their field, which includes better diagnostic tools and the use of cannabis in a treatment regimen. "We do hear from people, they say that this treatment is helping in their mood, in their sleeping, in their anhedonia and other symptoms," said Dr. Rahmani Zvi-Ram.
- Building emotional resilience through the COVID-19 crisis: An interview with a Hadassah Hospital trauma expert
- Soldier's trauma abates after treatment at Hadassah Hospital neuropsychiatry clinic
- Hadassah doctor shares his expertise in PTSD with Mexican colleagues
"Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine" is a production of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah enhances the health of people around the world through medical education, care and research innovations at the Hadassah Medical Organization. For more information on the latest advances in medicine please head over to hadassah.org.
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Our recent episode about bones:
If you enjoyed this conversation, you may want to check out our last episode with Dr. Amir Haze. He's the director of the foot and ankle unit at Hadassah Hospital and he's also the head of orthopedic research. We chatted about how we can all be strengthening our bones, about the groundbreaking stem cell research he's working on, and about the seven-hour surgery he did to reconstruct the foot of an injured athlete. You can find that episode of “Hadassah On Call” on Apple Podcast, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcast. Or on the web at hadassah.org/hadassahoncall.
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