New treatment options for veterans

J

Jan Dijkstra

Hello everyone,

I have a question. I have served in the Dutch military and my buddy is suffering heavily from PTSD after our tour in Afghanistan, now 10 years ago. He tried every therapy there is out there, CBT, EMDR, and we arrived now to the point where they just drug him and make him a vegetable. Today he called me stating he does not want to live anymore and is looking for a building to just jump off from. He said he was just joking but he has come to the point where he can't cope any longer. His marriage is getting destroyed and so is his relation with his daughters.

I am not going to accept this and I told him we are going to solve this shit even if it is going to take 30 years. He speaks not a word of English, so I am now basically searching for information worldwide on what his options are.

Are there any veterans here that recognize his situation and know of any experimental therapy's that is getting results? People that like him tried every therapy and drug there is out there and are getting no results? I heard a lot about clinical trials with MDMA, ketamine, etc. Anyone here that is getting results with that kind of therapy? Anyone that knows anything? Please let me know.

Regards,

Jan
 

Friday

Moderator
Good on you, brother. Former USMC & Mercenary (contracting, whatever) here. I get the having to look outside the “box” (f*ck the box) to find what works. Improvise, adapt, overcome. Always.

The MDMA trials are out of this world successful. So successful even our puritanical country is signing off on them, and we still have states where alcohol is illegal. If you can find a program using them? Go for it. Seriously. MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy - MAPS i the parent site I use to keep tabs on MDMA here in the states, but Israel & Germany I believe have their own programs (I think Israel was phase 3 almost 10 years ago? And last I heard were pushing for full legalization), which also usually mean the Swiss have clinics up & running whilst the rest of us lag behind… so language shouldn’t be a big problem.

The big thing to know about MDMA is it’s not just taking the drug that helps. Plenty of us have gotten high on Ecstasy, MDMA, &/or MDA and still have just as many problems, after, or more. What the drug does is create a window of trust. So a person can really work with a therapist, for about 10 hours straight, and get years/decades of work done in the space of days. It’s not just securing the drug that helps, but finding a trauma therapist who is trained in that type of therapy, and making use of those windows of time where things just work, that won’t work at any other time.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
know of any experimental therapy's that is getting results?
It also might be worth searching within the studies posted at clinicaltrials.gov. The database is managed at the US National Institute of Health by the National Library of Medicine, and lists studies that are recruiting from all over the world.

Searching it takes a little time, but it can be worth it. I looked around a little and found this MAPS-run open label multi-site study on the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Like Friday said, MAPS is the go-to resource in MDMA research.

Even if there's not a study that your friend can participate in - just browsing the studies for PTSD (globally) can give you a lot of info on where the research is at, what therapies are being explored, and follow links through to published results from closed studies.

Ketamine is something I've been getting solid benefits from for addressing my depression, and that ends up helping with PTSD as well. There is also ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to look into. Also, there's ongoing research into psilocybin for PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

rTMS (trans-cranial magnetic stimulation) has been studied as a possible intervention for PTSD, though I don't know if it turned out to be useful or simply a good intervention for depression symptoms specifically. It can be counter-indicated, because the procedure itself is rather loud and not without discomfort. Again, a proven intervention for depression, anxiety, OCD - I'm not sure where the PTSD research is at.

In the US, there's ongoing interest in ways to interact with the vagal nerve, including a procedure referred to as the stellate ganglion block (link goes to a short article by one of the founders of the Stella Center, a platform dedicated to this procedure). This is an injection of anesthesia to a specific nerve cluster that is associated with certain symptom sets of PTSD - including hyperarousal, panic/startle response, trouble concentrating, and depressed mood. Like all of these novel treatments - the SGB works best when supported by therapy and other interventions, but it's not meant to be used within the therapy session like some of the others, it's more like a highly specific, very targeted drug.

I hope some of these can help. Re-reading your OP, knowing that what your friend needs is some immediate relief - I'd say, start with looking into SGB procedures. I spent some time considering it, and while it doesn't seem to be 100% effective for everyone - it's got fairly low risks and is not permanent, it'll wear off after a certain number of months.

Peer support also helps a lot. You might see if your friend would consider joining a real-life group or scoping out this site.
 
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