First responders are the ones to help the public during traumatic and dangerous situations providing physical and emotional support. However, while helping others, first responders are continually exposing themselves to disasters, death, grief, injury, pain, loss and highly stressful situations, which are all triggers for causing PTSD. Add in the risk to personal safety, long work hours, and poor sleep it all compounds their chances for developing a mental health problem, such as PTSD.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is experienced by over 8 million Americans who have undergone a frightening or traumatic event. However, first responders who are continually exposed to traumatic events have a greater risk of developing PTSD. A study completed in May 2018 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that approximately 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as compared with 20 percent in the general population.
First responders are always willing to jump into the fray to help the public they serve, but rarely will they reach out for help with their own safety and well-being. Supervisors and loved ones of first responders can help by urging them to seek help if diagnosed with PTSD or experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
Exposure to trauma and severe emotions can create a chemical imbalance within the NMDA receptors in the brain, the area responsible for regulating emotional response. PTSD symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fear, high blood pressure, and emotional detachment are thought to be caused by the NMDA receptors in the brain.
Ketamine infusions work to treat PTSD in two ways. First it blocks the NMDA receptors restoring normal levels of protein synthesis and improving neuron communication through increased synapsis connections. Second, Ketamine enables patients to explore the emotions attached to the traumatic memory without experiencing severe reactions due to the slightly dissociative quality of Ketamine.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the typical treatments for PTSD, anti-depressants, don’t work for about 30% of patients, and those that do work can take up to 12 weeks to show increased synaptic connections. However, Ketamine can show improvements within 24 hours of the first infusion. Multiple studies have shown that the impact of Ketamine infusion therapy for PTSD and other anxiety disorders can last for up to 14 weeks after the very first series. Side effects are also mild and short-term compared to other treatments, such as anti-depressant medications. Some studies posted by the National Institutes of Health show that only about 35% of patients treated with Ketamine for PTSD require maintenance infusions. If patients are taught the early signs of recurrence or relapse, a treatment schedule can be developed to prevent those recurrences.
Ketamine infusion treatments work quickly to impact the symptoms of PTSD and the side effects are mild and short term. So, if you are a first responder suffering from PTSD symptoms, don’t delay in talking to your doctor then contacting Ketamine Infusion Centers to get started on your treatment.