The SGB for PTSD After Witness of Violence
If you have ever witnessed any kind of violence, you’ll know that after the initial shock wears off, you still feel uneasy, uncomfortable, perhaps even unwell. For many, that is where it ends, and eventually, they can get back to their lives without even thinking of the event they saw. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Some people find that it affects them hugely, potentially leading to psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a massively debilitating condition that has a major impact on every aspect of your life. Symptoms are different depending on the way that the person who is suffering processes the trauma they have seen or been part of, but the most common symptoms include insomnia, a constant feeling of fear and stress, anxiety issues, over-reactions, hyper-vigilance, and flashbacks.
This all comes about because the brain is trying to both process and protect the victim from the trauma they have experienced. Unfortunately, this leads to increased norepinephrine (a similar chemical to adrenalin) production, and causes the body to be in ‘fight or flight’ mode all the time. When that happens, there is no ‘off switch’ and the tense, nervous, frightened feelings are there for prolonged periods of time.
For most people, the fight or flight mode is a good thing. It allows us to be alert to danger when we need to be able to get away from problematic situations and get to a place of safety quickly without having to think about what is happening. It’s instinct, and it works. However, for those who have PTSD, this ability to distinguish between what is dangerous and what isn’t is no longer there, and the fight or flight mode is always active, making every situation feeling like a dangerous one. That is no way to live, and it’s no wonder that PTSD has such an adverse effect on people’s lives.
Not only that, but constant stress is extremely bad for you. It can lead to physical problems such as heart complaints and ulcers as well as much more, but it also leads to mental health disorders, including depression. PTSD can even cause new nerves to grow within the body which will then be affected by the amount of norepinephrine produced, effectively boosting the problems that the victim is already suffering from. Norepinephrine affects the fear center of the brain – the amygdala – and keeps it over-stimulated.
So what can be done for those who have witnessed violence or suffered other traumas and have PTSD as a result? There are several different therapies, but a new revolutionary PTSD breakthrough injection is proving to be a fast acting and effective treatment for those who suffer from PTSD. This new PTSD injection treatment is known as the stellate ganglion block or the SGB injection.
The SGB is an injection of local anesthetic that anesthetizes the stellate ganglion (a group of nerves within the neck that controls the amygdala). When this is no longer controlling the amygdala, less norepinephrine is produced, stress levels are reduced, and the ‘fight or flight’ mode can finally be ‘switched off.’ The SGB injection for PTSD after witnessing death or violence re-starts your sympathetic nervous system, in many cases taking you back to the levels of chemical and stress you had before the traumatic event – in other words, how you used to be.
This procedure is a low pain, low risk one that is carried out under x-ray guidance. Once administered, the block can start working in as little as 30 minutes, and can last for many years. One study has cited a soldier who served in Iraq and developed PTSD. After he was given the PTSD injection in the neck, his symptoms still had not returned 10 years later.
It is crucial to bear in mind that the SGB for PTSD from witnessing suicide, violence, or other trauma is not a cure. It is, however, a way to minimize the symptoms of PTSD, potentially for many years at a time. Results of the SGB are encouraging with 70 to 75 percent of those who used this method of controlling their PTSD symptoms still without those symptoms nine years later. Further innovations and research into the method mean that the figures are looking more like 85 to 90 percent at this time. Other methods for treating PTSD only have a 40 percent success rate.
A definite benefit to trying the SGB for PTSD after witnessing an accident or act of violence is that it can be carried out more than once. If, for example, symptoms start to reoccur, another SGB can be administered. Or perhaps the patient suffers another trauma at a later date and finds that they have PTSD once more because of it; again, the stellate ganglion block can be taken to reduce these symptoms too.
After the SGB has been administered, it is vital that the patient has good psychiatric follow-up care and continues to seek social support. How this is done will depend on the patient themselves and their preferences, but examples include meditation, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), therapy sessions, or medication.
Witnessing domestic violence and PTSD is very common. If you were the victim of child abuse, witnessed physical abuse of a family member, or even witnessed the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to deal with the emotions that accompany post traumatic stress disorder that accompanies the disorder.
Although the stellate ganglion block cannot erase those memories, it can help to control the debilitating emotions of fear, anxiety, and depression. Give our compassionate team call today to learn more about how the SGB can help you overcome your trauma and live a better life.
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