PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is classified as a mental health condition that occurs after a terrifying or traumatic event. PTSD sufferers may be the one who experienced the event or they could have been a witness to the event. While there are several forms of treatment for PTSD, traditionally a combination of psychotherapy and medications. However, a new study conducted by Dr. Frederick Carrick of the Carrick Brain Centers in Dallas, TX and his colleagues Kate McLellan, J. Brandon Brock, Cagan Randall and Elena Oggero seeks to find if methods that are being used to treat traumatic brain injury, a physical condition, are as effective for the treatment of PTSD. In this special two-part article, we will explore the similarities and differences in traumatic brain injury and PTSD and how Dr Carrick’s study is helping PTSD sufferers and seeking to reduce the number of patients diagnosed with PTSD.
Traumatic brain injuries and PTSD are a major problem for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is estimated that at least 15 percent of all veterans have suffered a traumatic brain injury and at least 30 percent were diagnosed with PTSD. However, this number may be significantly higher because many of the veterans are not diagnosed or treated until much longer after their return home. While traumatic brain injury and PTSD are often treated as separate conditions, for sufferers living with both conditions, it can be difficult to separate. And while awareness of PTSD has increased significantly through efforts to help our veterans, anyone can develop PTSD.
Traumatic brain injury is a neurological disorder caused by trauma to the brain. PTSD, though classified as a mental disorder, can cause a range of physical damage to the brain. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury include changes and impairment of physical abilities, vision, hearing, smell, taste, communication and even social skills. Symptoms of PTSD include unwanted and repeated memories of the event, flashbacks where the patient feels they are reliving the event, survivor guilt, avoidance of anything or person that are reminders of the event, shame, feelings of detachment and hypersensitivity to perceived threats. PTSD patients also have an increased risk for depression, injury, substance abuse and sleep disorders, which can also be present in traumatic brain injury sufferers.
Although the symptoms for these two conditions can vary widely by patient, treatments for the conditions have traditionally relied on the same types of treatments. For traumatic brain injury, those treatments have included everything from rest and rehab to surgery, depending on the severity of the injury. Treatments for PTSD have largely relied on psychological treatment and drug therapies. But there are alternatives to these treatment options and many patients are finding the alternative treatments to be far better for both conditions. Last September, the Wall Street Journal took a look at veterans who are experimenting with everything from yoga and scuba diving to companion dogs and tai chi as a way to cope with brain injuries and PTSD and they are calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the range of treatment options to include alternative treatments.
That’s where Dr. Carrick’s breakthrough study comes in. One option that has proven to be very effective in the treatment of traumatic brain injury is Vestibular Rehabilitation therapy or VR. VR is an exercise-based program designed to promote central nervous system compensation for inner ear deficits. This treatment has been used effectively to treat conditions like vertigo, reduced inner ear function, Meniere’s disease and traumatic brain injury. As VR is already an established important treatment for traumatic brain injury, Dr Carrick and his associates studied the effectiveness of VR treatment for PTSD patients with positive results. After treatment through the study, patients were observed to have a large reduction in severity of PTSD symptoms, both statistical and substantive.
In part two of our piece, we will bring you the details of the study and the positive ways in which Dr Carrick’s treatments are changing the face of PTSD treatment, leading to decreased suffering for patients, family and society.
If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of PTSD or TBI, Dr. Marc Ellis at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center can help. One of Dr. Ted Carrick’s students, he has worked closely with Dr. Carrick, his students and patients. With his command of the treatment options that are available today without turning to drug therapies and surgery, Dr. Ellis is committed to working alonngside Dr. Carrick and bringing his patients the most successful care plans available today. His ongoing work in the field of Chiropractic Neurology enables him to address the underlying causes of the conditions of his patients and has yielded dramatic results in chronic cases. With a complete understanding of the intricate relationship between the brain and pain, many doctors locally, nationally and internationally have referred difficult patients for treatment with exceptional results. For more information, or to set up an appointment for a consultation, please call (770) 664-4288.