All it takes is one loud noise to trigger a flood of awful memories. Post traumatic stress disorder haunts one in every six soldiers coming back from Iraq and nearly 8,000,000 Americans in all.
Standard treatment means therapy and meds that don’t always work and have side effects. One doctor is treating PTSD with an injection that he said can block the painful memories.
The way I look at PTSD, it’s a biological problem. It’s no different from a broken arm,” said Eugene Lipov, MD, Medical Director of Advanced Pain Center.
Dr. Eugene Lipov is the first to use a local anesthetic to treat PTSD. It’s called stellate ganglion block – SGB. It’s been used since the 1920s to treat pain. In this 10-minute procedure, Dr. Lipov injects it next to a bundle of nerves in the neck. “It works in 30 minutes. What else works in 30 minutes,” explained Dr. Lipov. “The drugs take two, three months, maybe six, if ever.”
Lipov said when a traumatic event is experienced, nerves in the brain sprout like flowers. By applying the local anesthetic, the nerve growth factor returns to normal. In a recent study at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, doctors found the shot provided “immediate, significant and durable relief” for two soldiers who didn’t respond to pills.
Other doctors said more safety studies need to be done before the treatment is widely used.
Dr. Lipov said one injection could last years, even a lifetime. It costs between $500 and $1,000. He’s currently performing a single blind study to provide the data needed to make this a more widely accepted treatment. There is no cost for patients in the study. Dr. Lipov does have FDA clearance to use the injection on patients.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family. Our goal is successful re-integration to civilian life.He