Ketamine for PTSD Treatment in London
What is PTSD?
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is an anxiety disorder that a person may develop after a particularly frightening or life-threatening event. The person does not have to be directly involved, because even the shock of witnessing an event happening to someone else that the symptoms of PTSD may set in.
While outlook can be understandably grim when suffering from PTSD, it can be treated and the symptoms can be lessened. There is a multitude of options available for treatment, but pairing two treatments together often yields the best results. If you are searching for PTSD treatment in London please keep reading.
What causes PTSD?
PTSD is usually caused by going through (or occasionally, witnessing) a traumatic event that threatens serious injury or death. Medical science still can’t completely explain why people develop PTSD, but research indicates it may be a complicated mix of:
- Stressful experiences
- Family history of mental health disorders
- How your brain is regulating the hormones and chemicals in your body in response to stress
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD generally start within a month of the original traumatic event, but in some cases may not appear until even years after the event. The symptoms tend to cause problems at school or work and in personal relationships, and also interfere with your daily life.
There are generally four types of PTSD symptoms: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative moods, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms may vary from time to time or person to person.
- Recurrent, intrusive memories of the traumatic event
- Flashbacks to the original event
- Nightmares or dreams about the event
- Emotional distress and physical reactions to things that remind you of the event
- Not thinking about or refusing to talk about the traumatic event
- Going out of your way to avoid situations or places that remind you of the event
- Negative thoughts
- Memory issues
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Lack of interest in hobbies
- Feelings of emotional numbness
Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions
- Getting startled easily
- Always feeling on guard
- Self-destructive behavior (for example, alcohol abuse)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Angry outbursts
- Guilt or shame
What treatments are available for PTSD?
After suffering from PTSD for a while, you may lose your ability to carry out everyday tasks or grow isolated from your loved ones. Finding a treatment that works for you can help you regain control over your life and get relief from your symptoms. Treatment can help you learn to manage symptoms as well, by teaching you:
- How to properly address your symptoms
- How to cope if symptoms pop up again
- How to think better about yourself
- How to treat other problems brought on by a traumatic event (such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse)
The most common or effective treatments for PTSD include the following:
- Ketamine infusions
Psychotherapy: Also known as talk therapy. May include cognitive therapy (which helps you recognize the thinking patterns worsening your symptoms), exposure therapy (which helps you face situations or memories that worsen your symptoms), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Medications: Typically antidepressants such as paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft).
Ketamine Infusions: An exciting new treatment option that research shows can bring relief in up to 80% of patients.
What are the risk factors of PTSD?
Anyone who experienced or witnessed a traumatic event can develop PTSD. That said, there are some factors that may put a person at higher risk to develop PTSD.
- If the trauma is long-lasting or especially intense
- If they have experienced trauma early in life (such as childhood abuse)
- If they work a job that increases their risk of exposure to traumatic events (such as first responders)
- If they have previously had mental health or substance abuse problems
- If they lack a social support network of close friends and family
- If they have blood relatives with mental health disorders
Ketamine infusion treatments in our London office have produced amazingly positive results in patients suffering from PTSD. Traditionally, PTSD is treated with oral medications such as SSRIs and psychotherapy.
However, many patients do not make a significant recovery with this approach. However, we have seen close to 70% positive results in patients treated with ketamine infusion (a series of 6). Most of our patients report positive results even after their first ketamine infusion.
What Causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops from highly stressful events in a person’s life which leave a lasting impression. The symptoms of PTSD arise from a negative bias toward experiencing neutral stimuli as threat-related, and in turn cause heightened feelings of fear, sense of doom, and anxiety.
Other strong emotions such as hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, emotional/physiological reactivity, and avoidance of thoughts, places, or objects are also common. This dysphoric arousal often inhibits people from leading peaceful, regular lives and interferes with their social and professional lives.
Do I Have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
If you find yourself unable to live the life you want to live, you should know there is no shame in seeking medical help. Somewhere around 7% of American adults have suffered through PTSD before, and up to 8 million American adults have it each year.
When seeking treatment from a doctor or healthcare professional, they will likely put you through a few diagnostic tests to confirm that PTSD is what is affecting you. These tests may include:
- Physical Exam: This will check to see if there are any underlying medical problems causing your PTSD symptoms.
- Psychological Evaluation: Your healthcare professional will usually discuss your symptoms and any traumatic events you went through.
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5): Published by the American Psychiatric Association, includes a set of criteria generally seen in PTSD patients.
If you are diagnosed with PTSD, you may have experienced or witnessed an event that threatened serious injury or death. You could have seen the event firsthand, you could have been the one in danger, or you could even develop post-traumatic stress disorder from hearing about details from a traumatic event.
If you continue to experience significant problems in your ability to function in normal life for more than a month after the initial event, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder and should consider treatment.