A recent study conducted in Israel has reported that giving someone who has experienced a traumatic event one dose of cortisone decreases their chances of developing post traumatic stress disorder by 60 percent.
The researchers examined the body’s natural response to a traumatic event in order to establish if enhancing the process in some way would affect whether post traumatic stress disorder would later be diagnosed.
When the body experiences an actual or threat either physically or one’s integrity the body undergoes a trauma response, during this response high levels of the stress hormone cortisol is produced.
During the study, the researchers gave rats that had been exposed to the smell of a cat a dose of cortisone up to 6 hours after this traumatic experience. Cortisone is a precursor to cortisol and it was reported that the single dose reduced the likelihood of developing PTSD by approximately 60 percent.
Due to the response, the researchers then conducted a small pilot study using human participants in an accident and emergency setting. The trauma victims were either administered with a dose of cortisone or a placebo in a double-blind randomised control trial again up to 6 hours after the event. Participants were followed up 2 weeks, one month and three months and as was the case in the rat population, the number of participants who met the diagnosis criterion for PTSD was 60 percent less than those in the placebo condition.
Currently there is no medication available specifically for the treatment of PTSD, instead individuals suffering from the condition are served up a concoction of drugs for the various symptoms of the disorder such as insomnia, anxiety and depression . The researchers of this study have reportedly argued that this alone is inhibiting the body’s natural process of overcoming a traumatic event.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the researchers 1.3 million dollar grant to expand their research.