PTSD Q & A
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have a profound impact on your life. Symptoms often occur after a frightening, traumatic, or distressing event. While many traumas can lead to PTSD, common triggers include:
Physical or sexual assault
Loss of a loved one
War, torture, or armed conflict
Not everyone who suffers a trauma develops PTSD. Doctors aren't sure why some people experience symptoms while others don't. But a history of mental illness may increase your lifetime risk of PTSD.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
PTSD symptoms can be debilitating. People affected by this condition may struggle with:
You might also develop physical symptoms, such as chronic headaches or recurring dizziness. After developing PTSD, you may experience worsening feelings of depression or anxiety. Fortunately, treatment can help you find relief from painful PTSD symptoms.
How is PTSD treated?
Your psychiatrist may suggest a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be especially helpful for children and adults with PTSD. But these treatments may not provide enough relief.
Many people with mental illness have trouble finding a drug that works. Even if you find the right medication, it may take several weeks to reach the drug to kick in. For people with debilitating PTSD, this waiting period can be painful.
But fast-acting treatments are available. Ketamine has helped many people find relief from PTSD. This drug works quickly, with some patients reporting improvement within 24 hours.
Ketamine can deliver results, even if other medications have failed.
At Boston MindCare, PC, you work with a trained anesthesiologist. Your provider helps you choose the right dosage for your symptoms.
How does ketamine relieve PTSD symptoms?
Ketamine works on NMDA receptors inside your brain. These receptors play an essential role in learning and memory. If you have PTSD, your brain may fixate on traumatic memories. Ketamine appears to interfere with this process. By blocking certain receptors, the drug disrupts the fear associated with traumatic memories.
Ketamine also improves synaptic connections in your prefrontal cortex. This part of your brain is in charge of planning, decision-making, and social behavior. Some mental illnesses can damage this part of your brain. But ketamine restores your brain's pathways. In time, the drug can generate healthy new synapses.