Is There a Drug-free Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition that affects a persons after a psychological trauma. The phase of this mental illness involves experiences of severe insecurity of life primarily. Research studies are carried out all over the world to understand this mental illness. It is incurable like any other types of depression. Medicines like antidepressants are used to treat or keep the symptoms of this illness under check. These medicines lower the fearful memories experienced by the patients. Their effect remains for a certain period of time only. Moreover, these anti depressants are powerful chemical substances and influence the patients with harmful and unavoidable side effects.
7.8 percent American adults are found to suffer from Post traumatic stress disorder. 5 percent of them are men, mostly War survivors. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 830,000 Vietnam War veterans suffering from the symptoms of this mental illness. However women are twice prone to this mental illness. 10.4 percent women are found to suffer from this mental illness in some point of their life.
But researchers from the New York University have found a technique which can treat this mental disorder without the involvement of any drugs. The research is extension of a technique applied on experimental rats earlier to humans. The technique blocks the fearful thoughts which plague the minds of the patients suffering from this disorder.
The fearful memories are stored in the brain as patterns. In this technique, the memory is reactivated. It is like making the patients recollect the fearful memories once again. This causes a requirement for a new memory pattern to form. Before this new pattern gets stored in the memory, the previous pattern gets completely scattered. It takes 10 minutes to 6 hours for the new pattern to form. Formation of the new pattern of memory resembles a much peaceful and relaxed state of mind.
According to researcher Dr. Elizabeth Phelps who conducted this study, the findings can open new possibilities to treat post traumatic stress disorder harmlessly. However, the results need more confirmation through further research. The study was supported through a fund provided by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health.