PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a condition triggered by a terrifying event such as a natural disaster, war, serious accident or personal attack. Symptoms may include, severe anxiety, flashbacks or uncontrollable thoughts. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the symptoms are grouped into four separate categories: intrusive memories, avoidance reminders, negative thoughts and arousal symptoms. These can vary in severity from individual to individual.
Examples of intrusive thoughts can include repeated, involuntary memories that can include distressing dreams or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks may be so vivid for some that they feel like they are re-living the event or seeing it before their eyes.
Examples of avoiding reminders may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that bring on distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it.
Examples of negative thoughts or feelings often include ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others as well as ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; and a feeling of detachment or estrangement from others.
Examples of arousal or reactive symptoms often include irritability such as angry outbursts; recklessness or self-destructiveness; being easily startled; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3.6% of adults experience PTSD in any given year. Although women are said to be three times more likely to be affected than men, many new treatments have been linked to combating the effects of PTSD among male veterans too.
STUDIES ON PTSD, VETERANS & CBD
The Veterans Association stated that in 2017, veteran deaths by suicide numbered about 20 per day. Veterans who suffer from PTSD have a hard time adjusting to regular life once they return from combat. As a result, many of them develop a drug problem or an over-reliance on pain medication. Studies suggest that doctors tend to prescribe opioids in high numbers to injured veterans to help them deal with chronic pain but this in turn only exacerbates their anxiety, stress, sleep disorders and mood swings.
Another study published online in 2015 showed that excessive fear and anxiety exhibited in patients with PTSD are devastating and disabling. Persons suffering from PTSD have a diminished sense of well-being resulting in increased relationship breakdown, higher unemployment and suicide.
Many prescription drugs like serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac or Zoloft show a very limited response with those veterans dealing with PTSD and the harmful side effects only lessen the tolerability and adherence among that group. Because of the limitations in these traditional treatments, CBD has attracted interest from researchers as well as patients. In fact. CBD has been shown to have broad therapeutic properties across a wide range of different psychiatric disorders; it also does not contain any of the psychoactive effects found in THC. This is especially helpful in conditions like PTSD that stem from “diverse central nervous system actions”.
Still more studies like one in 2011 looked at the effects of CBD, anxiety and combat veterans showing how a single dose of 600 mg helped in lessening anxiety. In 2016, the United States Veteran's Affairs Department published a promising study involving 66,000 veterans who received relief from PTSD through a treatment involving CBD. Aside from the benefits of CBD for anxiety disorders, it has also been shown to be effective in alleviating sleep-related symptoms of PTSD.
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HOW DOES CBD WORK?
The chemical compounds known as cannabinoids have many positive therapeutic effects on people dealing with PTSD- from reducing anxiety to helping with mood swings and panic disorders.
This is done primarily by stimulating the body's endocannabinoid system. This system helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep patterns. By activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the endocannabinoid system, CBD is capable of treating people who suffer from PTSD by preventing the retrieval of underlying trauma while simultaneously improving mood, promoting happiness, pleasure and memory. CBD also helps prevent the retrieval of underlying trauma which in turn prevents the emergence of nightmares and displeasing memories.
In conclusion, CBD shows promise as a very powerful treatment for those suffering from anxiety disorders like PTSD. The strong correlation seen in different studies is proof positive that there is both strong potential as well as a legitimate need for further study.
Keywords: traumatic, personal, ptsd, attack, natural, disaster, accident
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