A study by researchers at the University of California may identify a new treatment for symptoms of chronic PTSD, a nerve stimulation treatment that can have profound results fairly quickly. The study involved 12 participants who had all suffered an extremely traumatic experience decades ago and who still suffered from PTSD symptoms. Problems experienced included nightmares, anxiety, depression, being hyper vigilant, and difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep through the night. Senior study author, UCLA neuromodulation division director, and UCLA psychiatry professor Dr. Andrew Leuchter said “We’re talking about patients for whom illness had almost become a way of life. Yet they were coming in and saying, ‘For the first time in years I slept through the night,’ or ‘My nightmares are gone.’ The effect was extraordinarily powerful.” Leuchter continued with “Most patients with PTSD do get some benefit from existing treatments, but the great majority still have symptoms and suffer for years from those symptoms. This could be a breakthrough for patients who have not been helped adequately by existing treatments.”
The nerve stimulation treatment for chronic PTSD symptoms uses a small patch that is applied to the forehead. While the user sleeps the patch stimulates the trigeminal nerve. The research study has been published in the medical journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. The next step is to recruit military volunteers to examine the effectiveness of TNS treatments further. The first study involved civilians but military veterans also end to experience PTSD in very high numbers due to combat situations.