Posttraumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD, is also known as shell shock, or combat stress, and is a very real disorder that affects a large percentage of our veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs believe PTSD occurs in 11-30 percent of war veterans.
It develops after a severe trauma or a life-threatening event, in which the sufferer was in danger with little or no control over the results of the event. Witnessing people being injured or dying, or enduring an injury can trigger this disorder, which is especially common among war veterans.
Symptoms of PTSD include recurring memories or nightmares of the event(s), sleeplessness, loss of interest, or feeling numb – anger, and irritability, and a complete disconnect from the outside world.
What is most frustrating is that these symptoms might not surface for months or years after returning from duty – and they might also come and go, which makes it more difficult to diagnose or to identify the symptoms.
Currently the treatments vary depending on severity as well as diagnosis, and include mental health assessments and therapy, medication, group and family psychotherapy, and in more severe cases, hospitalization.
Another treatment might be available very soon! Studies show that marijuana may help to treat PTSD in veterans, which prompted the federal government to sign-off on a study that can prove or disprove its effectiveness.
The Food and Drug Administration long ago cleared the initial proposal from the University of Arizona, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency’s Mississippi research farm is the only federally sanctioned source of the drug.
In correspondence last week, The Department of Health and Human Services cleared the purchase of medical marijuana by the studies’ chief financial backer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, (MAPS) which is supporting medical research and legalization of marijuana and other drugs.
“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we’ve been granted permission to purchase marijuana from NIDA,” the group said in a statement. The government has never before approved medical research involving smoked or vaporized marijuana, according to MAPS.
Currently more than a million in the U.S. are using marijuana for medical reasons such as chronic pain, however research into the drugs effects has been limited, due to federal restrictions, until now.
There is one more hurdle to jump and that is approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, clearance is expected to come more quickly.
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