Disorders and Treatment
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People are always asking me about my stance on medication in PTSD recovery. Here’s the official answer:
I believe medications are useful and beneficial when administered and taken in appropriate doses specifically for the purpose of creating and promoting a method of regulated coping so that healing work can be approached, engaged in and consistently endured.
My disclaimer: I did not use medications in my own recovery. This was a very personal choice and one importantly driven by the nature of my trauma, which was medical in nature and specifically related to medication. To say I was afraid of pills was an understatement!
I did, however, beg my doctor for a prescription to help me sleep. For over a decade I slept an average of 2 hours a night. As anyone with insomnia will tell you, operating on too little sleep both exacerbates PTSD symptoms and also seriously minimizes your ability to handle them. While I begged my doctor for a sleep aid prescription, once I had the bottle in my cabinet I often was too afraid to take it: In addition to my medicine phobia I was afraid to get hooked.
Now, however, PTSD survivors struggling with insomnia may (in a few years) have a new choice — one that’s not habit-forming and that may possibly “have the potential to improve disturbed sleep and provide relief to the symptoms experienced by people with PTSD,” as Tonix Pharmaceuticals explains on their web site.
I don’t usually write about medication. Here’s why I’m making an exception: While TNX-102 SL is not yet available the ongoing study may bring research results that lead to significant, non-habit-forming relief for PTSD survivors. At this time, the study is looking for participants. That’s why I’m sharing the news with you. In case any of you can benefit from this opportunity and get some much-needed sleep I wanted to let you know how you can get involved.
The AtEase study is open to (you can read more about it here) male and female participants ages 18-65 who have suffered from some sort of traumatic event as a result of military service (active or not), military contract, Department of Homeland Security or law enforcement, who have some kind of lingering effect (sleeplessness, pain, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares). Ethnicity is not a factor in this trial. Subjects also need to be willing and able to withdraw and refrain from certain medications by doctor’s orders. Doctors will also help determine eligibility for the trial by determining whether participants meet certain measurement scales, including a clinical diagnosis of PTSD according to the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5.
You are not eligible for the trial if you have, among other situations, significant traumatic brain injury, severe depression or bipolar or psychotic disorders, suicidal tendencies, cardiac or infection problems, or laboratory abnormalities (e.g., Hepatitis), history of drug or alcohol abuse, violent behavior not related to their service over the last two years, a BMI higher than 40 or you are pregnant. The study protocol can be found at clinicaltrials.gov for the complete list. If you need help interpreting the factors share this information with your doctor who will know the exact terminology and be able to determine if you’re a good fit for the trial.
The AtEase study is taking place in the following cities: Tuscaloosa, AL; Phoenix, AZ, Imperial, National Cirty, Oceanside, Orange, Riverside, Torrance, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Lake City, Leesburg, Orlando, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; New Bedford, MA; Lincoln, NE; Las Vegas, NV; Cedarhurst, NY; Cincinnati, Cleveland, OH; Oklahoma City, OK; San Antonio, TX; Bellvue, WA.
At the moment, the trial is still enrolling patients, so there’s no deadline, but it is always better to talk to your doctor in one of those cities and get started right away rather than wait. The ateasestudy.com website also has a questionnaire that will help you to determine if you might be a good fit for the study.
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