Not only does post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exact a heavy toll of its victims, but it is also a condition that is currently without a cure. A recent collaborative report, however, suggests that a potential treatment breakthrough could one day be possible.
This study featured contributors from National PTSD Brain Bank, the VA National Center for PTSD and Yale University. The authors believe they might have found a chink in PTSD’s armor. Specifically, their focus is directed towards glutamate, a chemical tasked with transmitting messages throughout the brain.
According to the report, brain scans of PTSD sufferers revealed an elevated presence of glutamate receptor-5 (mGluR5), a subtype of glutamate receptor. It should be noted that in animals, fear and stress-related behaviors have been tied to overactive glutamate receptor-5’s. Given this fact, the researchers theorize that medicines aimed at inhibiting mGluR5 receptors could alleviate such feelings among those with PTSD.
Looking for Something New
A new treatment approach would certainly be welcome news to those affected by PTSD symptoms. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved two medications for the specific treatment of this condition. Unfortunately, both options are largely ineffective, and many patients wind up being prescribed combinations of drugs not approved for PTSD treatment.
Study author Irina Esterlis stated that the collaborative report “is one of the first examples to highlight the importance of the new National PTSD Brain Bank in enabling us to study the biology of PTSD at a deeper level. We have a long way to go to understand the complex neurobiology of PTSD, but these new research approaches should have a significant impact on the field.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 3.6% of U.S. adults have experienced PTSD in the past twelve months. The same agency also estimates that nearly seven percent of American adults will encounter PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives.