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#84819 - 11/27/06 07:49 PM New Medication
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Harrowing experiences damage the brain. New drugs promise to heal it. Could the end of posttraumatic stress be near?
By Matt Bean, Men's Health
Find More

Roger Pitman, M.D., hunts nightmares for a living. Not the vivid phantasmagoria populated by zombies or disembodied skulls, or even the nude-at-the-podium orations that leave us blushing in our sleep. He's after the nonfiction variety, the indelible, enduring flashbacks that stick in our heads after reality goes awry: a saw blade meeting flesh, say, or an improvised explosive device overturning a Humvee.

I'm in Dr. Pitman's lab in Boston, watching him track down a particularly vivid figment, a stab wound to the neck that's been plaguing 43-year-old carpenter Al Carney for 2 months now. "We're about to put him back in the most horrifying moment of his life," says the Harvard psychiatrist, peeling back the top sheet on a thick medical file labeled Patient 102. In the room next door, the stout laborer sits, eyes closed, headphones on, wired with a battery of biofeedback equipment: electrodes affixed to his chest to monitor his heart rate; a forehead sensor scanning for tension; and a tiny pad on the inside of his palm measuring how much sweat seeps through his skin.

"It's 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 30," a narrator begins to read over the headphones. "Noticing Peter Bowman standing there, you become tense all over. He says he's here to collect a check. Feeling jittery, you tell him he needs to fix several things before you pay him any more. As the argument becomes heated, your heart beats faster. Peter becomes physically aggressive, and you feel a blow to your neck. You fall to the ground. Several people pull him off you. . . . After you're separated, you realize that you're bleeding profusely from several knife wounds."

Fade Away

Carney's vital signs ebb and flow on a flat-screen monitor in the corner of the room as he reimagines the assault. They spike when he's "stabbed" by Bowman. But I don't need whirring telemetry machines to tell me the narrative has struck a nerve: Carney starts fidgeting, and he taps his scuffed gym shoes together at the toes. Even though he's been asked to sit still, his head twitches back and forth against the recliner's headrest. Later, Dr. Pitman will compare Carney's physiological responses with the results from previous sessions, as well as his reactions to positive>
Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#84820 - 11/28/06 12:11 AM Re: New Medication
sis Offline

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 195
Loc: Arizona
I am now just experiencing memory along with terror from my repressed memory. Before i started my recovery from csa i was against meds. i didn't think there was anything wrong with me. I am now on meds and i am greatful that i have them. If i could go back to past trauma to release the negative effects without the terror i would, even if that meant taking another drug. A few years ago i would not have said that. Very interesting article. thanks, light and love, sis

#84821 - 11/28/06 02:31 AM Re: New Medication
reality2k4 Offline

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6845
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Ken, firstly, this is a good article from someone who thinks about stuff without the quackery.
I am wondering though, that if horrific memories are suppressed this way, it could come back in an even more damaging way.

The memory thing was intruguing, but the mind does not store these memories, it puts them into other body tissues.
Logically it puts them back to where they came from.

I put this stuff away for years, but underneath they have always troubled me.
Then they can surface like a volcano erupting.

One issue is to take the soldier, give him this drug which messes with his mind, so the next time he meets the situation, it is far less damaging, which means he will have less reaction to it.

If he has less reaction, he is less likely to find himself equipped with the tools to avoid recurrence.

If you choose to drug bad emotions, then the good suffer also, and maybe this is a good thing in new trauma.

Trauma that happened decades ago may be able to be numbed down, but would we just be doing what we always did, numb it, and hope it goes away?

I suppose what I am getting at, is, are we talking about disengaging our own survival instincts with drugs?

A good topic,


Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

#84822 - 11/28/06 08:11 AM Re: New Medication
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Ste and Sis:
I don't know. My primary goal is to help relieve the symptoms that hurt so much. If it means making them dull or non-existant, is that bad for the sufferer?

Or is the search for "truth" or "reality" more important? I don't know. I've worked with people who want to reveal the "truth" as well as those who just wanted relief from the symptoms that affet them.

I suppose that providing the information or people finding the latest news will help them figure out which they want.


Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#84823 - 11/29/06 07:38 AM Re: New Medication
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

Thanks so much for providing this article. I was especially interested in the fact that stomach ulcers seem to be one of the manifestations of traumatic events in the life. I now know there was a reason why I developed bleeding stomach ulcers at age 20. I always did know, but now I am able to understand the pathology behind it.

I really wasn't crazy after all! There really was a reason and it was beyond my control at the time. I'm sitting here in tears over this seemingly minor little thing I've just learned and the funny thing is, I don't give a damn if people see me like this. I'm just happy I found this out.

Again, thanks.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson


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