Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has long been affecting the lives of veterans due to its high rate of suicides, accounting for an average of 20 suicide deaths a day. PTSD occurs when a veteran is exposed to traumatic experiences, usually in combat. The body is unable to bring its fight-or-flight response to normal. The symptoms may include nightmares, severe anxiety, disturbance of sleep, hyper-vigilance, and over-reactivity to certain situations. On the other hand, a brilliant innovation has been known for its potential to rapidly treat symptoms of PTSD and aid the person diagnosed with it for a possibly long period. The procedure is called the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB).
The use of Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) to aid PTSD is relatively new but has garnered a massive success for the last 10 years. Stellate Ganglion Block is part of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which controls the body’s response to danger. Also, SNS is believed to be in charge of the amygdala’s activation, which s responsible for our feelings of fear. Norepinephrine is a chemical released from the sympathetic nervous system when the body is exposed to stress. Medical researchers have stated that the increase of norepinephrine, which serves over activates the amygdala.
The procedure includes giving an intravenous medication to aid the patient’s relaxation. Afterward, an anesthetic agent is injected on the stellate ganglion. Stellate Ganglion Block is considered a low-risk pain procedure and can relieve the symptoms of PTSD in 30 minutes. Side effects of the procedure such as drooping eyelids, bloodshot eyes, nasal stuffiness, tearing, hoarseness of voice, lumpy feeling in the throat, difficulty swallowing, and tingling sensation in the arms and hands will subside within a few hours. Although pain relief differs from each patient, the effects of SGB may last for years.
The reappearance of symptoms may happen if another trauma is experienced by a patient after undertaking SGB. If the patient is genetically predisposed to be sensitive to stress, or if the patient does not comply with the aftercare protocols provided by their doctors. If symptoms of PTSD reappear, taking another SGB procedure is likely to alleviate them. To date, the most extended follow-up available is a soldier who experienced severe PTSD after participating in combat in Iraq.
A ray of hope such as the Stellate Ganglion Block procedure and other psychiatric help awaits in the corner to help veterans suffering from PTSD get back on their feet and regain control of their life again. If you are a veteran having symptoms of PTSD or know someone who might be and is thinking if SGB might be the right procedure to take, you may heed to REE Medical to schedule for a free consultation. Comprised of dedicated doctors and a team ready to answer your queries, REE Medical has been helping veterans over the past 20 years to allow them to get treated the best care possible.