April 12

How Effective Is Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment for PTSD?

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Do you struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Have you tried various treatments with little success? Today, many individuals find relief from stellate ganglion block treatment for PTSD.

While many people have heard the term PTSD, often they don’t truly understand it or its impacts on a person. It’s also usually only associated with military service. Yet, there are also other causative events.

In fact, researchers are now examining the prevalence of PTSD related to COVID-19. One study looked at patients who had a COVID-19 diagnosis. Among these subjects, 15.45 percent had statistically significant PTSD levels.

The rate was 30.98 percent among staff members and 28.22 percent among nurses working in COVID-19 units. They also looked at the general population and found a 17.34 percent rate of PTSD.

Another study focused on firefighters and military personnel. They reported a PTSD rate of 57 percent for firefighters and 37.8 percent for military members.

Are you looking for a new method of treatment? Keep reading to learn more about the effectiveness of SGB PTSD treatment in Maryland.


A Definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The psychiatric community has established a specific diagnostic definition. PTSA is a disorder caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.

Some common examples include:

  • Being threatened with death
  • Combat or war
  • Natural disasters
  • Rape
  • Serious accidents
  • Serious injury or illness
  • Sexual violence
  • Terrorist attacks

Each person’s response is unique. Typical responses include prolonged disturbing feelings or thoughts about the experience. It’s key to understand that PTSD can occur in response to indirect exposure to events. This isn’t limited to only those who were directly involved.

Just hearing about the violent death of a family member or friend may trigger this response. Individuals who work with child abuse cases are another group at risk for PTSD. This includes police officers, child protective services staff, teachers, nurses, and more.


An Overview of the Typical Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD symptoms are often grouped into four different categories. The severity of the person’s response varies.

Altered Arousal and Reactivity

Individuals exhibit heightened irritability and extreme outbursts of anger. They engage in self-destructive and reckless behavior.

It’s common to have trouble sleeping or concentrating. They’re always suspicious about their surroundings. This leads to excessive watchfulness, heightened startle reflexes, and overreactions.

Altered Cognition and Mood

Some individuals internalize the traumatic event. They may develop negative feelings and beliefs about themselves and others. For example, “I can’t trust anyone” or “This happened because I am bad.”

This distorted thinking causes persistent fear, anger, guilt, shame, horror, or self-blame. Individuals may withdraw and isolate themselves.

They often feel estranged and detached from others. This is because they can’t experience positive emotions.

Avoidance

To prevent these feelings, people avoid anything that might trigger these memories. They consciously avoid specific people, activities, situations, places, or objects.

Their goal is never to think about or remember what happened. Thus, people are often reluctant to seek counseling to avoid experiencing the feelings.

Intrusion

Intrusion describes having repetitive, involuntary memories of the trauma. This can occur as unsettling dreams or nightmares.

Certain events may trigger flashbacks. This can be such a vivid experience that they believe it’s happening at that time.


Your PTSD Diagnosis

It’s common for people to experience these feelings for a while after a traumatic event. If it lasts longer than a month and interferes with daily activities, it meets PTSD criteria.

Most people with PTSD develop the symptoms within three months. For others, they may not start until many months or even years later.

Often these individuals also suffer from memory problems, depression, and substance abuse. Other mental and physical problems may also be present.


What Exactly Is the Stellate Ganglion?

The autonomic nervous system includes the sympathetic nervous system. This tells your body that it’s time to flee or fight. The stellate ganglion regulates the nervous and cerebrovascular system’s responses.

It raises the heart rate and dilates the blood vessels to oxygenate the muscles for max function. You become more alert to evaluate and respond to the situation. It also helps you feel and move your arms and face.

This group of nerves is oval in shape and located on the front of the spinal column where the neck meets the first rib.


About Stellate Ganglion Block Treatment for PTSD

In people experiencing PTSD, the body continually thinks it’s in danger. This triggers the sympathetic nervous system to keep reacting. Thus, the individual experiences detrimental physical wear and tear besides the other symptoms.

A stellate ganglion block (SGB) aims to reset the sympathetic nervous system. It’s an invaluable addition to trauma-focused psychotherapy.

This procedure has been successfully used for over ten years to treat PTSD in Europe and America. Thousands of civilians and US military service members and veterans have undergone SGB.

The SGB procedure involves an injection of an anesthetic into the stellate ganglion. This blocks the sympathetic nervous systems responses. It rapidly calms the nervous system down, so your body has a chance to heal.

Thus, you feel less on edge and have fewer physical and emotional symptoms. SGB also reduces the hyperactivity of the amygdala, which pumps out fear signals. This helps patients experience less anxiety.

Chronic stress often triggers excess and ongoing production of stress hormones. This plays a signific role in feelings of depression. The SGB helps to reduce the effects of these hormones as well.


How To Know If You’re a Good Candidate for SGB Treatment for PTSD

Have you experienced a traumatic event that you can’t seem to overcome? Do you feel like the world is unsafe and that you could be seriously injured or die at any time?

Does this interfere with your daily life? Have you been told by friends and family that you need to get help?

If you answered yes, talk to your doctor about SBG and counseling options. Remember, this isn’t only harming your mental and emotional life. You’re overworking the neurovascular system, which increases the risks of major physical problems.

As the body of evidence grows, the effectiveness of SBG for those with PTSD is becoming increasingly apparent. Experts are finding that this works much faster than other conventional treatment approaches.


Scientific Evidence of the Impact of SGB on PTSD

One study in the British Medical Journal examined fourteen peer-reviewed studies since 1990. These reports described the safety and effectiveness of SGB in successful PTSD treatment. The patients included a wide range of demographics and precipitating traumatic events.

This qualitative research focused on surveying SGB experts treating these PTSD patients. They collected suggestions and attitudes from therapists to learn about SGB’s effectiveness.

They surveyed behavioral health clinicians with patients who had undergone SGB for PTSD. These therapists rated the effectiveness of SGB treatment for four symptom clusters. These included “Avoidance,” “Arousal/Reactivity,” “Negative Thoughts,” and “Reexperiencing.”

The “Arousal/Reactivity” symptom cluster was rated the most improved by 96 percent of the experts. This aligns with other studies previously published addressing the success of SGB treatment. None of these clinicians described SGB for treating PTSD as “Not Helpful” or “Harmful.”

Another study in JAMA Psychiatry also evaluated the effectiveness of SGB for PTSD. These researchers used a Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5) assessment tool. This defined active-duty service members who met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

Among the identified PTSD patients, two-thirds received an SGB. The other one-third received a placebo injection instead of an anesthetic. The participants were then followed for eight weeks.

The CAPS-5 assessment was readministered after eight weeks post-treatment. Those in the placebo group improved their CAPS-5 score by an average of 6.1 points. The treatment group’s scores rose by an average of 12.6 points.

Clinically significant improvement for this scale is ten points. Thus, this illustrated that those who received the SGB experienced considerable improvement.


Would You Like to Explore Having an SGB in Maryland?

Do PTSD symptoms disrupt your life? If so, it’s time to consider stellate ganglion block treatment for PTSD.

The Pain and Spine Specialists offer stellate ganglion block in Mt. Airy, Maryland. This is our main office in Maryland. We’ve built surgery centers throughout the state, so you won’t need to travel far.

You’ll have the option to get your stellate ganglion block in Elkridge, Maryland. Other locations include Fredrick, Glen Burnie, Rockville, Hagerstown, and Salisbury. Our patients always receive expert, compassionate care for their pain and quick recovery.

Get in touch with our team today to find relief for your PTSD symptoms through SGB and other treatments.


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