Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PTSD treated with injection of anesthetic (SGB)

Time  [See previous article]  The latest edition of the medical journal Psychiatric Annals features military researchers discussing how a procedure known as stellate ganglion block can effectively treat post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD).

Injecting a local anesthetic agent into the sympathetic nerve tissue at the base of the neck — a so-called stellate ganglion block (or SGB) – acts to numb signals which travel to centers deep in the brainstem and brain, commonly thought to be most responsible for PTSD.

The prospect of using a medical procedure to treat PTSD would be a paradigm shift for psychiatry.

That PTSD can be thought of an injury – something whose symptoms could be alleviated by injecting numbing medicine – would support the assertion that former Vice Army Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli has been advocating for some time that PTSD should be renamed PTSI – with an I for injury.

“It might seem counterintuitive that treating the peripheral nervous system could affect psychiatric conditions presumably mediated in the brain,” writes Dr. Cam Ritchie, my colleague and retired Army psychiatrist, in a press release for the journal heralding the news.

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