Researchers work diligently to prevent and treat the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, one of the most prominent veteran illnesses today. PTSD is not exclusive to the military, but veterans are helping to draw attention to this debilitating illness. Increasingly expensive treatments created a need for scientists to find new, more effective ways to treat the psychological condition.
In one experiment, professors Joseph Zohar and Hagit Cohen may have found that a single dose of common medication, cortisone, could reduce the likelihood of developing PTSD. Using a double-blind study, Zohar and Cohen discovered that patients who had received a shot of cortisone were more than 60 percent less likely to develop PTSD. They will expand this small pilot study with a $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.
A joint effort by Stanford and Palo Alto Veterans Affairs is allowing Dr. Amit Etkin to map the brain activity of patients using magnetic resonance imaging. Using these MRI photographs, he is working to understand how the brain repairs itself in order to regulate emotions. Etkin is hoping to use magnetic stimulation to activate the same neural pathways that are activated by standard psychotherapy, in an effort to provide a more effective treatment for PTSD.
For those of you with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, an application has been made available in the App Store. Users can track their PTSD symptoms, find links to public and personalized sources of support, are provided with accurate information about PTSD, and are taught helpful strategies for managing symptoms on the go. The app is one of the first in a series of resources aimed at helping veterans meet the challenges of readjustment and get anonymous assistance, created by the VA National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology.
With new technology and research being developed every day, it is imperative that those suffering from PTSD look into these resources. If you or anyone you know is currently suffering from PTSD, seek help at your local VA hospital or Veterans Affairs online.
Photo thanks to mohammadali under creative commons license on Flickr.