Currently, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is usually treated with psychotherapy and antidepressants, but with the variability of the human mind those aren’t always effective. Now a study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has found that a novel form of treatment reduced symptoms of the disorder by effectively letting patients “hear” their own brainwaves.
While it affects an estimated 7 to 8 percent of the general US population, PTSD is a particular problem for people serving in the military. The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that at some point in their lives, the condition affects about 12 percent of Gulf War veterans, up to 20 percent of Iraq War vets and up to 30 percent of Vietnam veterans. Symptoms include depression, insomnia, flashbacks, and emotional distress, which can over time greatly disrupt a person’s everyday life.
“Ongoing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, whether clinically diagnosed or not, are a pervasive problem in the military,” says Charles H. Tegeler, principal investigator on the study. “Medications are often used to help control specific symptoms, but can produce side effects. Other treatments may not be well tolerated, and few show a benefit for the associated sleep disturbance. Additional noninvasive, non-drug therapies are needed.”