Anti-biotics and PTSD
by harriss39 on May 10, 2017 - 12:03pm
In this article, researchers are learning that the antibiotic Doxycycline may be a new and helpful treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a term for a broad range of psychological symptoms that can develop after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. PTSD is caused by an over active fear memory and this new research shows that Doxycycline can help reduce the fear memory response in healthy volunteers. Researchers have started an experiment to test how Doxycycline affects the mental status of the participant. In the first session of this experiment, volunteers were given either a placebo or Doxycycline. They were taught to associate a certain color with an electric shock. A screen would flash either blue or red with one of the colors being associated with a 50% chance of receiving a painful electric shock. After a week, they were shown the colors again. This time it was accompanied by a loud sound and no shocks. Their fear responses were measured during the second round of testing. Their fear responses were calculated by subtracting the baseline startle response, which is the response to the sound on the “good” color, from their response to the sound when the “bad” color appeared.
Lead author Professor Dominik Bach states, “When we talk about reducing fear memory, we are not talking about deleting memory of what actually happened. The participant might not forget that they received a shock when the screen was red, but they ‘forget’ to be instinctively scared when they next see a red screen.” Essentially, they aren’t stating that the participant can forget, but it reduces the fear that is present when those flashbacks occur. The doctor’s theory for stating this was based on the recent discovery that our brains need proteins outside nerve cells, called matrix enzymes, to form memories. Matrix enzymes are found throughout the body and their over-activity is involved in certain immune diseases and cancers. For the treatment of these diseases, there are clinically approved drugs that block these enzymes. Since they knew they could block the enzymes, they wanted to see if they could help prevent the fear memories from forming. The theory supported this idea, which opens the door for more research that might help find treatments for PTSD sufferers. A week later, under no medication, participants returned. There were no electric shocks, but a loud sound played after either color was shown. The fear response was 60% lower in participants who had Doxycycline in their first session compared to those who had the placebo. This suggested the fear memory was significantly suppressed by the drug.
I chose this article because I suffer from PTSD. When I was given my options for treatment, I wasn’t happy. The doctors want to give you drugs like Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor and Prozac. These drugs are really heavy drugs. They are anti-depressants and Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Most of these drugs come with harmful side effects. They all include drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, changes in appetite, sleep problems and so much more. Those of us who have to work full-time jobs would have to endure that during our day just to feel normal. This article gives those of us who have PTSD hope that there might be a drug without so many harmful side effects that can actually help us. My immediate reaction was of hope, I would much rather be on an antibiotic than be on an SSRI or anti-depressant. I agree with its premise but it still has tons of research to do to ensure that this can be used as a treatment. However, being optimistic gives me hope that there will be relief in something with fewer side effects, if any. This would definitely affect my family positively, if it becomes FDA approved. I would be able to take something to help me feel more normal. I only wonder why haven’t we thought of this sooner and if this could be used as a treatment for any other mental health illnesses?