Ariana Grande posting brain scans, sparking conversation about PTSD

ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about PTSD.
1:57 | 04/13/19

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Transcript for Ariana Grande posting brain scans, sparking conversation about PTSD
We're back with the weekend download. Ariana grande revealing struggles with PTSD posting a scan of her brain, calling it terrifying. Dr. Jennifer Ashton is here. Good morning, thank you for joining us. So these scans are pretty dramatic and really shocking to see them on Instagram. What do we know about these kind of scans to diagnose conditions like PTSD? Great opportunity to learn about two things. First functional mris. This is a type of mri that looks at oxygen activity in the brain so it can light up with good things and bad things, so trauma and pleasure. The second thing, PTSD. Now, the awareness is key here. We spoke to some leading experts at Yale in the division of neuroimaging and psychiatry. They said while this is an area of very active and exciting research, looking at functional mris to diagnose PTSD, it is not ready for primetime right now. The only way to diagnose PTSD is with a good psychological interview. So specifically regarding PTSD what are some of the signs or symptoms that people at home should be aware of? I think awareness is key because this is something, janai, that affects up to 44 million American adults. When you take a look at this list, behavior changes. So having extreme reactions that don't feel like they would be something you would normally do. Memories of the event which can take the form of nightmares or flashbacks. Big mood swings which could manifest as negativity or pulling away from relationships that did matter to you, or avoidance, avoiding the activity or discussing anything about the traumatic event. You said 44 million Americans, so what are some of the treatment options for those suffering from PTSD. The key, first of all, ask for help. There's something called cognitive processing therapy, which is desensitizing that person to the trauma that they went through. But again, the good thing about a story like this is bringing awareness to something that is so important and destigmatizing

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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