The Truth About PTSD

The Truth About PTSD

Are you aware that 75% of the population will experience a traumatic experience characterized by the symptoms of PTSD? What traumatic experiences are most common in those suffering from PTSD:

  • Rape Molestation Physical Attack Combat
    Threat with weapon Accident
    Natural Disaster with fire Witnessed Trauma Neglect
    Physical Abuse Other Trauma
  • Each of these experiences affects individuals differently and some of these traumatic experiences may have a higher likelihood of leading to PTSD.

Presently, PTSD affects about 7.8% of the population. At 255 million adult Americans living today, that nearly 20 million people suffering from this psychiatric condition. This condition isn’t new and the history books are littered with references to what we now know as PTSD. So, how far back have we known about PTSD?

2100 B.C., the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is tormented by the trauma of Enkidu’s death, experiencing recurrent and intrusive recollections and nightmares.
1300 B.C. Mesopotamia, King Elam’s mind “changed” meaning he was disturbed.
500 B.C. Indian epic poem, Ramayana, the demon Marrich experienced hyperarousal, reliving trauma, and avoidance behavior after nearly being killed by an arrow.
440 B.C. The Greek historian Herodotus described how an Athenian name Epizelus was suddenly stricken with blindness after seeing his comrade killed in combat. The blindness that was brought on by fright persisted for years.
1600 Swiss physician Johannes Hofer coins the term “nostalgia” to describe Swiss soldiers suffering from despair, homesickness, sleeplessness and anxiety.

Nostalgia was a common diagnosis during the Civil War and these soldiers were considered weak and “feeble willed”. Doctors advocated public ridicule as the cure.
The term Shell Shock first appeared in the Feb 1915 edition of The Lancet documenting soldiers who experienced severe symptoms including anxiety, nightmares after being exposed to exploding shells on the battlefield.
World War II, the term Battle Fatigue, Combat Fatigue, and Combat Stress Reaction emerged
1952 DSM I added gross stress reaction diagnosis related to psychological issues stemming from Traumatic events.
1980, the DSM III, included PTSD for the first time.

Thus, PTSD has probably existed since the first human beings. Among veterans of war, the prevalence of PTSD is very high. In recent US wars:

Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have a prevalence of PTSD that ranges from 4.7% to 21.8%
While Vietnam War veterans have a prevalence of 2% to 17%.

These estimates may be underestimated due to the stigma associated with psychiatric illnesses..

Current treatments have mixed results. Medication, psychotherapies, prolonged exposure therapy have dropout rate of up to 50% and require a long duration of time to achieve results. These obstacles are why the Stellate Ganglion Block provides a great therapeutic option.