The U.S. National Institutes of Health, among other reliable sources, tells us that post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, can’t be cured – but effective treatment options exist, like ketamine infusion therapy – with many patients reporting less frequent symptoms shortly after the beginning of treatment.
WHAT IS PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health disorder triggered by either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, severe depression, and nightmares, plus strong thoughts about the trauma and aftermath. American combat soldiers in Vietnam often called it shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome upon returning home after the war.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR SURVIVORS?
- They survived when someone died.
- Emotional or bodily injuries were perpetrated on the victim during the incident.
- The event resulted in injury or the death of another as seen by the survivor.
- The patient may have suffered through physical abuse.
- The patient shows feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror.
- The survivor lacks a supportive social network.
- Severe stress from death of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of employment or a place to live.
- The person’s blood relatives have a history of mental illness or substance abuse, which is less crucial to the real trauma.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- For millions experiencing the pain linked to PTSD, the symptoms often exist long after the trauma:Intrusive memories of the incident, which arise unexpectedly sometimes while at home, work, or a social event.
- Avoiding recollections of the trauma, not to mention people, places, and conditions that might remind you of specifics of the incident.
- Changes in behavior most often characterized by unexpected signals of petulance or anger. The person can become easily scared or have problems sleeping or concentrating.
- The person begins exhibiting negative feelings and thoughts. Bad thoughts can be redirected inward, with the victim burdened by unrelenting self-blame.
HOW TO CURE PTSD
Like other mental illnesses, PTSD can’t be cured. Its symptoms – bad memories or dreams, failed personal relationships, poor job performance – can’t be shut off with the flip of a switch. Most people who suffer from the ailment know this is true and get treatment when possible through medicine or psychotherapy.
COMPLICATIONS OF PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder can reach deep into your life ― relationships, your ability to hold down a job, your wellbeing ― everything.
Experiencing PTSD may also boost the risk of other mental health illnesses, such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Trouble with drug or alcohol misuse
- Eating disorders
- Thoughts of suicide
HOW IS PTSD DIAGNOSED?
The path taken in diagnosing PTSD or other mental health disorders may require visits to multiple healthcare providers, usually a medical doctor and then a therapist. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to look for signs which may cause symptoms and ask about overall health. A psychiatrist or therapist will perform a psychological assessment, which includes questions with the patient about family mental history, symptoms and the trauma which preceded their appearance. Ultimately, your doctor will arrive at a diagnosis after confirming criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
TREATMENT FOR PTSD
The go-to treatment for most mental health conditions is psychotherapy, such as exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. But there are more pathways to controlling the symptoms of PTSD, including the use of ketamine infusion therapy. Originally used as a battlefield anesthetic, ketamine and its derivatives have shown promising outcomes for treating PTSD symptoms in adults. The drug is believed to enhance chemical transmissions in the brain– specifically neurotransmitters–and how moods get processed.
PTSD affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. every year and about 7.5 percent of the global population. It’s a serious mental health ailment couched in pop culture mythos whose origin likely dates back to the first time our human ancestors experienced a traumatic event. It can’t be cured, but its symptoms are treatable.
If you or a loved one are dealing with the symptoms of PTSD, contact us today to learn more about the innovative new treatments that we offer. There is hope. We can help.