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Veterans Association UK

Veterans Fighting for Veterans Rights


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PTSD: Cured by an injection?

Military Related V Civilian PTSD


Recent New Discoveries about PTSD


PTSD: Cured by an Injection?                        

A new study in America has found that symptoms of PTSD can be relieved by an injection of a local anaesthetic, usually used for epidural procedures, which can re-set the levels of adrenaline released into the brain, combating some of the Hyper-vigilance which is responsible for sleep problems, concentration, anger, flashbacks and nightmares. The procedure called a Stellate Ganglion Block (SGBs), was pioneered by Dr Eugene Lipov and others, see the abstract for the report below. This is a very promising and exciting line of inquiry and you can find out more by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. This is an abstract of the report:

Objective: Report the successful use of stellate ganglion blocks (SGBs) in 166 active duty service members with multiple combat deployments experiencing anxiety symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Background: Successful treatment of PTSD symptoms with SGB has been reported previously. This is the largest published case series evaluating SGB with a minimum of 3 months follow-up.

Methods: Following clinical interview including administration of the PTSD Checklist (PCL), 166 service members with symptoms of PTSD elected to receive an SGB. All patients received an SGB on the right side at the level of the sixth cervical vertebrae (C6). The PCL was administered the day before treatment to establish a baseline, repeated 1 week later, and then monthly out to 3 months. A positive response was considered to be an improvement in the PCL score by 10 or greater points. Follow-up PCL scores from 3 to 6 months were obtained and analysed for 166 patients. Results: In a military population with multiple combat deployments, over 70% of the patients treated had a clinically significant improvement in their PCL score which persisted beyond 3 to 6 months post-procedure.

Conclusion: Selective blockade of the right cervical sympathetic chain at the C6 level is a safe and minimally invasive procedure that may provide durable relief from anxiety symptoms associated with PTSD.

Military Related v Civilian PTSD

Military Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder differs to its civilian counterpart in that civilian PTSD is generally, but not always, caused by a single trauma event, i.e., RTA resulting in the death or serious injury of a loved one, a rape or serious sexual assault, or some other single event.  In some cases, civilian PTSD is linked to serious childhood issues, for example, sexual abuse, neglect, cruelty or domestic violence. People in very stressful jobs, such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance services and Auxilliary Services such as Mountain Rescue and RNLI Volunteers are also prone to PTSD, sometimes caused by the catastrophic events they witness in the course of their duties. These are equally valid and distressing disorders but the treatment can differ somewhat from the treatment of military PTSD. Civilian PTSD is usually a one-off trauma such as being involved in an RTA, killing a passenger but surviving yourself giving an extreme feeling of guilt, witnessing a horrific event such as a murder or being a rape victim, all these scenarios will cause PTSD, but as a single trauma, however, the Emergency Services are subjected to similar traumas to the Armed Forces, multiple traumas from RTA's, fatalities caused through Fire.In some cases of civilian trauma are Critical Multi Trauma PTSD case just like the military, these are usually caused by long-term abuse, sexual, physical and mental, domestic violence over long periods of time have become very apparent through our hotline 

Another group of civilians who may suffer Critical Multi Trauma PTSD are people who have suffered over a long period of time suffering from child molestation or abuse over a long period of time , wives suffering domestic violence over long periods of time any trauma that is sustained over a long period of time causing severe anxiety, the time scale in itself can cause PTSD then topped off by the multiple trauma incidents manifests itself far more severely than any single incident or trauma. 

Military PTSD often occurs in personnel on active service tours who are affected by multiple trauma i.e, witnessing the death or serious injuries caused to comrades and friends being blown up or shot, or being themselves involved in this type of incident. There are also problems caused by the state of extremely heightened vigilance necessary on tours of duty and which must be sustained during the length of the active service tour. This type of behaviour is very difficult for some people to withdraw from once they are back in Civvie Street. 

Military PTSD may not manifest itself for several years after the event which caused it and it is often very difficult for the veterans and their families and colleagues to understand what is actually going on. Not all soldiers on front-line active service tours will sustain PTSD but the vast majority will have some mental health issues such as depression and/or heightened vigilance and transitional depression upon leaving the military. This is often due to the 'coming down' from an adrenalin-busting job to the normality of being a truck driver or working in a factory or an office and the lack of a structured lifestyle which is the mainstay of Army/Navy/Air Force life.

Military Trauma can cause flashbacks, nightmares, anger and depression, often leading to violence, alcohol and substance abuse, job loss, family breakdown and even suicide. The more quickly a veteran is diagnosed the better the success in bringing levels of PTSD down to a sub-clinical level, ie, the same as any other person's stress rate.

It is very common that the symptoms will not disclose themselves for 15-20 years after the event, which in itself can cause major problems; people think it is such a long time that it can't be related to a particular incident. PTSD is a peculiar and difficult illness for the sufferer to deal with, but it can be successfully treated and we can help facilitate that treatment; never be afraid to ask for help, it is not a sign of weakness, any more than a broken leg is a sign of weakness, and you'd seek help for that, wouldn't you?

The Veteran's Association works in partnership with an organisation called PTSD Resolution, a specialist mental health charity led by Tony Gauvain, a psychotherapist with a team of over 200 clinicians working all around the UK, which means treatment can be obtained much more quickly than with some other treatment providers. PTSD Resolution has a successful treatment rate of over 83%. The PTSD Resolution programme helps veterans, reservists and their families struggling to reintegrate to normal work and family life because of military post-traumatic stress disorder suffered as a result of serving in the armed forces.



Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of:

•domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse
•childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
•entrapment or kidnapping.
•slavery or enforced labour.
•long term imprisonment and torture
•repeated violations of personal boundaries.
•long-term objectification.
•exposure to gas lighting & false accusations
•long-term exposure to inconsistent, push-pull, splitting or alternating raging & hovering behaviours.
•long-term taking care of mentally ill or chronically sick family members.
•long term exposure to crisis conditions.

When people have been trapped in a situation over which they had little or no control at the beginning, middle or end, they can carry an intense sense of dread even after that situation is removed. This is because they know how bad things can possibly be. And they know that it could possibly happen again. And they know that if it ever does happen again, it might be worse than before.

The degree of C-PTSD trauma cannot be defined purely in terms of the trauma that a person has experienced. It is important to understand that each person is different and has a different tolerance level to trauma. Therefore, what one person may be able to shake off, another person may not. Therefore more or less exposure to trauma does not necessarily make the C-PTSD any more or less severe.

C-PTSD sufferers may "stuff" or suppress their emotional reaction to traumatic events without resolution either because they believe each event by itself doesn't seem like such a big deal or because they see no satisfactory resolution opportunity available to them. This suppression of "emotional baggage" can continue for a long time either until a "last straw" event occurs, or a safer emotional environment emerges and the damn begins to break.

The "Complex" in Complex Post Traumatic Disorder describes how one layer after another of trauma can interact with one another. Sometimes, it is mistakenly assumed that the most recent traumatic event in a person's life is the one that brought them to their knees. However, just addressing that single most-recent event may possibly be an invalidating experience for the C-PTSD sufferer. Therefore, it is important to recognize that those who suffer from C-PTSD may be experiencing feelings from all their traumatic exposure, even as they try to address the most recent traumatic event.

This is what differentiates C-PTSD from the classic PTSD diagnosis - which typically describes an emotional response to a single or to a discrete number of traumatic events.

C-PTSD - What it Feels Like:

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel un-centered and shaky, as if they are likely to have an embarrassing emotional breakdown or burst into tears at any moment. They may feel unloved - or that nothing they can accomplish is ever going to be "good enough" for others.

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel compelled to get away from others and be by themselves, so that no-one will witness what may come next. They may feel afraid to form close friendships to prevent possible loss should another catastrophe strike.

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel that everything is just about to go "out the window" and that they will not be able to handle even the simplest task. They may be too distracted by what is going on at home to focus on being successful at school or in the workplace.

C-PTSD Characteristics:

How it can manifest in the victim(s) over time:

Rage turned inward: Eating disorders. Depression. Substance Abuse / Alcoholism. Truancy. Dropping out. Promiscuity. Co-dependence. Doormat syndrome (choosing poor partners, trying to please someone who can never be pleased, trying to resolve the primal relationship)

Rage turned outward: Theft. Destruction of property. Violence. Becoming a control freak.

Other: Learned hyper vigilance. Clouded perception or blinders about others (especially romantic partners) Seeks positions of power and / or control: choosing occupations or recreational outlets which may put oneself in physical danger. Or choosing to become a "fixer" - Therapist, Mediator, etc.

Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.

Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Catastrophising - The habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

"Control-Me" Syndrome - This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature.

Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Loathing - An extreme hatred of one's own self, actions or one's ethnic or demographic background.

Tunnel Vision - The habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.

C-PTSD Causes:

C-PTSD is caused by a prolonged or sustained exposure to emotional trauma or abuse from which no short-term means of escape is available or apparent to the victim.

The precise neurological damage that exists in C-PTSD victims is not well understood.

What to do about C-PTSD if you've got it:

Attempt to or seek help in removing yourself from the primary or situation or secondary situations stemming from the primary abuse. Seek therapy. Talk about it. Write about it. Meditation. Medication if needed. Physical Exercise. Rewrite the script of your life.

 What not to do about it:
•Stay. Hold it in. Bottle it up. Act out. Isolate. Self-abuse. Perpetuate the cycle.

What to do about it if you know somebody else who has C-PTSD:
•Offer sympathy, support, a shoulder to cry on, lend an ear. Speak from experience. Assist with   practical resolution when appropriate (guidance towards escape, therapy, etc.) Be patient.

What not to do about it if you know somebody else who has it:
•Do not push your own agenda: proselytize, moralize, speak in absolutes, tell them to "get over  it", or try to force reconciliation with the perpetrator or offer "sure fire" cures.

The new criterion for PTSD now covers complex trauma under the sub-type diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - With Prominent Disociative Symptoms. The complex PTSD diagnosis is an amalgamation of several diagnoses in one.


Recent Discoveries about PTSD*

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, America believe they have solved a 100-year-old mystery which began with the First World War: why do some people suffer from PTSD, or Shell Shock as it was known back then, and others don't?  Having been given access to examine the brains of people who had survived an IED, but subsequently died of other causes,  they discovered a specific type of brain injury which could explain the problem.  Researchers found a distinctive honeycomb of broken and swollen nerve fibres in critical regions, such as the frontal lobes, which control decision-making and reasoning.  This led the scientists to conclude that these hidden brain injuries may play a role in the social and psychological problems affecting some soldiers. A century after the first reported cases of Shell Shock, the struggle to overcome this invisible injury continues. Doctors treating IED survivors often see depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse or adjustment disorders. "Life is very difficult for some of these veterans,” says Professor Koliatsos. “It’s important to understand that at least a portion of these difficulties may have a neurological foundation.”   

*Shell Shock article from a study by Vassilis Koliatsos, M.D., professor of Pathology, Neurology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  

To read more about the article above go to:

To find out more about the Stellate Ganglion Procedure for PTSD: