Guest Lecture – Treating the Nightmare of PTSD

This week the Summer Student Lecture Series, in partnership with the Department of Psychology, bring you a guest lecture!  Join Dr. J. F Pagel for his lecture titled “Treating the Nightmare of PTSD” taking place on Wednesday, June 6 in CS 101 from 12pm – 1pm.

All welcome. Light refreshments will be provided.

Please find a complete abstract below. For more information please visit our website or find us on Facebook

Treating the Nightmare of PTSD 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is arguably the most physiologically dangerous of sleep disorders, due to its strong association with suicide and risk-taking behavior. In today’s society PTSD is extraordinarily common, affecting traumatized civilians and at least 17% of the current veterans of military deployment. Many forms of therapy have proven useful in the short-term treatment of PTSD, including psychotrophic medications (antidepressants and anti-anxiety), noradrenergic effective anti-hypertensive medications (prazosin and beta-blockers), classic psychoanalytic insight and group therapies, combined CBT therapies, diagnosis-based behavioral therapies (exposure, extinction and EMDR), and cognitive therapies (imagery and controlled (lucid) dreaming). Based on symptom alteration, primarily a decrease in nightmare frequency (the most commonly described symptom of PTSD), epistemologically based reviews indicate that a majority of these therapies have a greater than 80% short-term efficacy.

Despite the short-term success of the many available therapies in treating nightmares and insomnia, PTSD has proven to be extraordinarily difficult to cure. Suicide risk and the negative effects of PTSD on waking life function commonly extend into extreme old age, despite therapy. While much more work is needed in order to clarify the pathophysiologic relationship between breathing and PTSD, and artistic incorporation as a process of PTSD therapy, both approaches have the potential for long-term benefit. Untreated apnea has long-term effects on morbidity and mortality, and for the large cohort of PTSD patients with co-morbid OSA, treatment is known to improve, long-term, the status of co-morbid diagnoses, and waking function. The production of creative art can be transformative, incorporating the experience of trauma and sufferings into art of extraordinary quality, at a level even higher than possible before for the experience of trauma. Both of these approaches to treating PTSD have the potential to improve the quality of the experience across the full spectrum of life.