Recent studies on the beneficial effects of the beta-blocker medication PROPRANOLOL on REDUCING THE ADVERSE SYMPTOMS OF TRAUMA are very encouraging and exciting.
One study, by Dr Roger Pitman, involving 22 patients, found that anxiety associated with trauma was greatly reduced in those patients given the drug compared with those who were not given it.
In another study, conducted in France, it was found that anxiety in patients suffering the effects of trauma was halved compared to those patients to whom the drug was not administered.
HOW IS THE BETA-BLOCKER PROPRANOLOL THOUGHT TO WORK?
What is particularly exciting about this drug is that it is thought to actually WEAKEN THE NEURAL MEMORY TRACE OF THE MEMORY ITSELF.
The drug blocks beta receptors in the brain, reducing the effects of adrenaline on neurons (neurons are brain cells).
The drug works on the SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM which has the effect of reducing physiological symptoms associated with anxiety such as a pounding, racing heart and rapid, shallow breathing (also known as hyperventilation).
Individuals suffering from the effects of trauma often report having vivid and intense memories of the traumatic event/s. It is thought that the drug addresses this problem by acting on the memory trace, causing it to fade away and decay normally, thus greatly weakening its grip on the individual and ameliorating symptoms of anxiety.
One study has even demonstrated that just a single dose of propranolol, in certain, specific cases, can be of benefit (although it is usually prescribed over the long-term).
As stated above, research into the uses of this drug to treat the effects of trauma is at an early stage; more studies are being conducted. It should be pointed out, though, that the drug is not effective in every case.
Anyone considering taking the medication should discuss it with their doctor.
Best wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
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