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Stellate Ganglion Block for Anxiety

SGB injection for Anxiety

The stellate ganglion block (SGB) injection has been used since the 1920s to treat various forms of chronic pain, as well as the menopause. However, in recent years, it has been found to alleviate the debilitating symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Research has also found that the SGB injection might also be an effective treatment option for treating anxiety and hyperarousal for those who suffer from PTSD.

The SGB Treatment for Anxiety in PTSD

One of the most common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is anxiety, which can take ahold of numerous aspects of a person’s life. For example, it could impact their social life, career performance, and could even cause relationships to breakdown.

While the likes of cognitive behavioral therapy, medications for PTSD anxiety, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are effective treatment options, the SGB injection could help to quickly and easily alleviate the symptoms connected to the disorder, which can include anxiety.

The SGB treatment for anxiety will be inserted into a person’s neck via ultrasound or x-ray guidance, and an anesthetic agent will be administered into their sympathetic nervous system, which controls their fight or flight response. It will help the system to return to a pre-trauma state, as it will decrease the elevated levels of norepinephrine in the body.

As a result, it can prevent the sprouting or growth of extra nerves that can activate the amygdala, which is the fear center within the brain that reportedly causes PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, hyperarousal, and re-experiencing.

The Research for Anxiety and Depression

Researchers recently embarked on a pilot 12-patient series and discovered the SGB injection could effectively treat anxiety or depression in patients. Fifteen veterans, who were living with extreme, chronic PTSD, participated in the study and received a single injection, which featured 0.25% bupivacaine and 2% lidocaine 8 cc using fluoroscopic guidance.

Each veteran was then studied for six months and experienced various examinations, and the block reportedly helped nine of the twelve subjects. The study discovered a drop in anxiety, depression, and psychological pain scores, which were so effective that it is believed the injection could rival electroconvulsive therapy for those living with depression.

What’s more, the veterans that were successfully treated by the SGB injection for anxiety displayed a better heart rate variability, lower arousal levels of respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and greater eyeblink electromyographic responses. It could, therefore, be an effective option for those struggling with a mental health condition, as it could help them to enjoy a greater quality of life.

Conclusion

While the stellate ganglion block injection will not be a cure for anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, it could help a person to alleviate the symptoms associated with a condition. It is also possible for a patient to receive another injection if the symptoms should return many months or years down the road.

The SGB for anxiety could also work in harmony with other treatment options, such as talk therapy, exposure therapy, medications, and healthy coping mechanisms. It could be an ideal option for people who are struggling with a mental health disorder after a traumatic experience, which could be resulting in a diminished quality of life.

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

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