A Jab to the Neck to Treat PTSD

All it takes is one loud noise to trigger a flood of awful memories. Post traumatic stress disorder haunts one in every six soldiers coming back from Iraq — and nearly eight million Americans in all. Standard treatment means therapy and meds that don't always work and have side effects. Now, one doctor is treating PTSD with an injection that he says can block the painful memories. As Robyn Haines reports, some say more research needs to be done, but one soldier wants relief now. John Sullivan was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Anti-anxiety meds didn't work, so he's trying an experimental treatment: an injection to the neck to stop PTSD. Doctor Eugene Lipov is with the Advanced Pain Centers in South Carolina. He is the first to use a local anesthetic to treat PTSD. It's called stellate ganglion block — SGB. It's been used since the 1920’s to treat pain. Lipov says when a traumatic event is experienced, nerves in the brain sprout like flowers. By applying the local anesthetic, the nerve growth factor returns to normal. In a recent study at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, doctors found the shot provided “immediate, significant and durable relief” for two soldiers who didn't respond to pills. Other doctors say more safety studies need to be done before the treatment is widely used. John says, for him, it worked. Doctor Lipov does have FDA clearance to use the injection on patients. He says one injection could last years — even a lifetime. It costs between $500 and $1,000. He is currently performing a single blind study to provide the data needed to make this a more widely- accepted treatment. Here is the website for the Advanced Pain Centers: http://www.advancedpaincenters.org