January 11, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an increasingly recognized mental health condition that occurs following a terrifying event or trauma. Once we associated it only with the most extreme traumas that soldiers would suffer in battle, but we have no accepted that many forms of trauma like car accidents, childhood abuse, or other accidents can leave someone with PTSD.
One of the formal definitions for PTSD comes from the Mayo Clinic:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
It can last for a lifetime for some people, or for others it gets better with time and self-car. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within a month, but can delay onset for years in some cases. The symptoms fall into 4 types:
- Intrusive memory
- Negative changes in mood
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
They can vary over time and from individual to individual, and can be brought on by memories of the events, or triggered by news stories, noise, smell, visual cues, or seemingly nothing. If you have disturbing thoughts about a traumatic event for more than a month, if you can’t get your life back on track, or if you are having suicidal thoughts you should get help immediately. Delaying treatment can make things worse.
New treatment methods for PTSD include the use of psychedelics like MDMD and Ketamine in conjunction with psychotherapy. It appears to be highly successful in the trials and in November 2016, the US FB=DA permitted large scale Phase 3 clinical trials for the therapy.
The new therapy consists of three sessions over a period of weeks that are 8 hours each. The patient is administered a dose of psychedelics and then psychotherapists work with the patient to reprocess the traumatic memories. It appears to work, and while the memories remain they are viewed from a different context.
Researchers think that normally sensations enter the brain and then are distributed to the thalamus for higher order processing and storage as memory. In a traumatic experience they believe that the feeling gets stored before it is processed. That way every time the memory pops up it is as traumatic as the first time. The PTSD sufferer is always poised for the fight.
They propose that MDMA releases feel-good hormones and supress fear simultaneously. This combined with the work of therapists means that the memory can be processed and sent to higher order centres of the brain for storage as a non-terrifying memory to be relived.
PTSD left untreated or poorly treated can be very distressing. If you have PTSD and are suicidal contact a friend, a minister or someone in your faith community, call a family member, call a suicide hotline, call your doctor, go to the emergency department or a walk-in clinic.
You can get help 24 hours a day by contacting the new Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS). It allows callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support using the technology of their choice (phone, text or chat), in French or English:
Phone: toll-free 1-833-456-4566