Ketamine Therapy at Renew Health Allen

PTSD Treatment

Nearly 20 Million People in the U.S. Are Likely to Experience PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that can arise after someone experiences or sees a traumatic event. It is characterized by recurrent and intrusive thoughts or memories related to the event, trouble sleeping, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can cause significant problems and difficulties in daily life. People with PTSD may feel like they are going through the traumatic event again, even in a safe place. Without treatment, the symptoms of PTSD can continue for months or years, potentially leading to a decrease in daily functioning.

Causes of PTSD

PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur following the experience or witness of a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a car accident, or a violent assault. It is characterized by symptoms such as flashbacks, in which the individual experiences vivid and intense memories of the traumatic event and nightmares and avoidance of situations that may trigger traumatic memories.

The exact cause of PTSD is not fully understood, but research suggests that it may be related to the brain’s response to trauma. During a traumatic event, the brain’s stress response system, which regulates fear and anxiety, becomes overactive. This can result in changes in the brain’s structure and function that contribute to the development of PTSD. Genetics may also influence an individual’s risk of developing PTSD, as some people may have a genetic predisposition to the condition.

What Triggers PTSD Symptoms?

In severe cases of PTSD, everyday experiences in someone’s environment reminds them of the trauma, triggering their stress response which may vary from heightened anxiety to delusional paranoia. A car may backfire, which reminds someone of a gunshot, and they begin to relive their combat or assault experience. They may be aware that they are safe even though their anxiety levels are heightened and unmanageable, or they may be convinced that they’re in danger and take action disproportionate to the situation. A hint of perfume, a particular food, or a baby crying can trigger a PTSD episode, depending on the initial trauma.

Since many triggers for PTSD happen daily, it can be extremely challenging to get symptoms under control.

What Are the Typical PTSD Symptoms?

PTSD symptoms can start as early as a month after the traumatic event but can sometimes take years to develop. These symptoms could cause problems with work, relationships, and social interactions if allowed to continue without proper treatment. Patients with PTSD often report these symptoms:

  • Distressing memories
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Flashbacks of the event
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical reactions
  • Negative changes in mood
  • Insomnia
  • Overwhelming guilt
  • Self-destructive behavior

When Do PTSD Symptoms Begin?

PTSD symptoms usually appear within three months of a traumatic event, but people can go many years without experiencing any symptoms. This is more common in cases of childhood trauma, where the individual may have suppressed their reactions to stay safe. However, symptoms of PTSD may later be triggered by events such as becoming a parent or experiencing a new trauma. It is important to take these symptoms seriously and seek professional treatment, as they can indicate the need for treatment even if they appear long after the original traumatic event.

What are the Complications of Post-Traumatic Stress?

Untreated post-traumatic stress disorder is highly disruptive. The complications it imposes on everyday life can compound anxiety disorders and depression. In severe cases, people may start thinking about suicide to escape their symptoms. If the PTSD symptoms are severe, a person may be unable to function. Avoidance and the physical symptoms of panic may prevent a person from working, commuting, or getting regular sleep. In the long run, these patterns severely diminish a person’s quality of life.

How Does Ketamine Treat PTSD?

Many brain areas are affected by PTSD. The current understanding is that specific synapses within the brain fail to function appropriately. Recent evidence points to ketamine’s inhibitory effects on the NMDA receptor in the lateral habenula. The lateral habenula is a brain region primarily responsible for encoding negative rewards or anti-reward cause-and-effect relationships. Those with PTSD show an overactivity of their NMDA receptors. As a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, ketamine prevents glutamate from activating the NMDA receptor.

The inhibition of the NMDA receptor may cause a build-up of free glutamate, which then activates the AMPA receptors. When surplus glutamate activates the AMPA receptor, it releases a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) chemical. BDNF, in interaction with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), promotes new neural growth. This new growth may reroute the brain from hyperactive areas associated with negative reward signals, providing long-term relief from PTSD.

Ketamine treatment for PTSD reduces the rates of suicide. It is also effective for treating war combat veterans with some of the most extreme PTSD symptoms. Those with co-existing conditions, such as depression, also find relief from those symptoms. This allows many people to use a single treatment instead of a cocktail of medications.

Treating PTSD

Our expert mental healthcare providers at Renew Health are dedicated to providing compassionate care to those struggling with PTSD. We understand the difficulties and challenges with this condition and are here to help you on your journey towards healing and recovery. Our team is committed to working with you to find the best treatment plan that meets your unique needs and helps you manage your symptoms. Don’t let PTSD control your life any longer. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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