Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. While traditional treatments of psychotherapy and medication can help PTSD, Hyperbaric Oxygen is now being clinically proven to show great promise in the treatment of PTSD.
There is growing evidence that hyperbaric oxygen induces brain neuroplasticity which leads to repair of chronically impaired brain functions seen in PTSD patients, even years after the initial trauma.
FIG. 4. Cortical views from the front, back, right, left, inferior, and superior aspects show effects of 1 HBOT (top row) and 40 HBOTs (bottom row) at a significance level of p < 0.001. Significant increases are shown in red (HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy).
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Works For PTSD Patients
- Neuro-imaging tests reveal that PTSD affects many areas of the brain. This damage includes hippocampal atrophy, altered activity in the insular cortex, and hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
- These areas of the brain distinguish between safe and unsafe conditions. They control the brain’s interpretation of stimuli as well as fear of conditioning and cognitive and emotional reactions.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen provide 100% oxygen delivered under increased pressure that helps treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This increased oxygen helps heal damaged brain tissue, improves blood flow, reduces inflammation, and promotes the growth of new tissue and blood vessels.
One study conducted by Dr. Paul Harch analysed 29 active-duty or retired military personnel with PTSD. After completing intense Hyperbaric Oxygen sessions 52% of those who met the PTSD checklist military diagnosis no longer met the diagnostic threshold. Improvements occurred in general anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms. Out of the 12 participants that expressed suicidal thoughts at the beginning of the study, 10 no longer felt suicidal.
Hyperbaric Oxygen has been shown to reduce apoptosis, up regulate growth factors, promote anti-oxidant levels, and inhibit inflammatory cytokines. Hence, it is likely that HBO is advantageous in treating PTSD.
154 PTSD Patients Underwent HBO
- 154 patients suffering from chronic neurocognitive damage had undergone Hyperbaric Oxygen
- HBO was associated with significant improvements in all of the cognitive domains
- The most prominent improvements were memory index and attention.
- The most striking changes observed when the group took a brain imaging scan were in the anterior cingulate and the post central cortex, in the prefrontal areas and in the temporal areas.
- To conclude, the largest published cohort trial demonstrated that Hyperbaric Oxygen was associated with significant cognitive improvements. The clinical improvements were well correlated with increased activity in the relevant brain areas.
You can also view our other blogs on how Hyperbaric Oxygen greatly benefits the brain and other neurological conditions:
Hyperbaric Oxygen and Autism,
HBO and the Brain,
HBO and Neurological Conditions