Addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Distressing and persistent involuntary or intrusive memories are a core symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a prevalent and often disabling disorder with a variety of severe negative consequences for general health, social relationships and everyday functioning. Victims of violence and conflict are at heightened risk to PTSD, yet service provision does not come close to meeting the need for treatment, especially in low income countries.
The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation is partnering with University College London (UCL) to look more closely at how the brain processes traumatic experiences and to lead the way on ground breaking research which will dramatically reduce the impact of trauma on the lives of landmine blast survivors, the victims of torture, or anyone who has experienced extreme levels of shock or distress. Unlike many other mental afflictions, PTSD can be traced to the occurrence of a specific and life changing event or experience. Experiences of war are a prime example of such events and it is therefore unsurprising that PTSD is endemic in many war torn regions of the world. While the physical blast injuries of landmine survivors can severely restrict mobility, the mental scars resulting from the trauma of the explosion can be equally as enduring and debilitating.
The research and tests are focused on commonly available medications which have been identified as potential preventatives that could be administered in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Tests to-date by UCL have found that the frequency of involuntary distressing memories are significantly reduced by the administration of nitrous oxide, propranolol and hydrocortisone shortly after a stressful experience. This three year research project is investigating the potential of these drugs to treat PTSD and to determine the ideal treatment delivery and parameters and the response across drug types.
This project is lead by Dr Sunjeev Kamboj, with additional researchers Vanessa Hennessy, Dr Ravi Das, at Research Department Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London.