If you are a survivor of war, or even a combat veteran, you probably want to know if you should be taking a variety of drugs for the symptoms of PTSD.
And you probably also want to make sure you know what to do if you start taking them.
A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reveals that the answers to these questions are not always straightforward.
What to do?
The study, conducted by Dr. Michael McDaniel and colleagues, suggests that there are two main approaches to dealing with PTSD, and that one approach might work for some, while another might not.
The researchers compared the experiences of people who were diagnosed with PTSD and those who had never been diagnosed with the condition.
“What we saw was that the people who had been diagnosed [with PTSD] had a better response than the people that had not been diagnosed,” McDaniel told The Next Sputnik.
“It’s a combination of things that makes the difference.
It’s an underlying cause of symptoms that you don’t always identify until you’re really sick.”
McDaniel also explained that the treatment that works for some people may not work for others.
“There are some people that have very, very severe symptoms that are actually not consistent with PTSD,” he said.
“They may have very severe PTSD symptoms, and yet they’re not getting the kind of therapy that works in the general population.”
He added that he and his colleagues found that some people were getting better when they were prescribed drugs.
The research, conducted over the course of a decade, involved about 5,000 people who received medical records.
Participants received between 20 and 30 doses of benzodiazepines, which included benzodiazapines, Valium, and other drugs commonly prescribed for PTSD.
The participants then completed questionnaires about their symptoms and the medications they were taking, and a standardized assessment of their psychological well-being.
They also took a blood sample, which measured levels of certain markers of inflammation and blood glucose levels.
Then, the researchers compared those who were receiving medication to those who hadn’t.
After two years, the participants had been taking a combination, including benzodizapines and Valium.
Those taking medication did worse on the PTSD measures.
In contrast, those taking the combination did not do worse.
“When you’re on medication, you’re usually experiencing a more severe depressive episode, but when you’re not on medication you’re just experiencing the depressive symptoms of depression,” McDavid said.
The difference in response, he said, was not due to differences in symptoms, but differences in the level of the medication used.
“So you’re getting these symptoms of mild depression, but you’re also getting some other symptoms that aren’t related to depression, and the medication isn’t working as well.”
Another reason for the lack of improvement was the fact that some of the participants who were taking medication had other health problems.
“Some people are taking medications that are not as well tolerated or as effective, and there are also other things that they’re taking that aren, too,” McDeens said.
For example, some of them were taking medications such as antidepressants or anti-psychotics, and it’s possible that these medications may also be interfering with the healing process.
Some participants also experienced worsening of symptoms.
“A lot of these people, it was a lot of different things,” McDonald said.
When they were diagnosed, the study participants were also asked to report how much they felt they had experienced the symptoms, or how much of a difference they perceived between themselves and others.
In the end, the difference in responses between those who got the medication and those not receiving it was statistically significant, but not significant enough to be statistically significant enough for the researchers to make any conclusions.
“That’s really a pretty big difference,” Mcdonald said.
In other words, people who took the medication for PTSD did not seem to have an overall better response.
What did you think of this research?
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