Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Potential of Combining Emerging Therapies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Public Deposited

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  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex, multi-faceted psychological disorder involving dysregulation of systems that govern stress and immune response, and affecting civilians and military personnel alike. An increased prevalence of PTSD and an incomplete understanding of its underlying mechanisms makes treating, and even diagnosing PTSD challenging. Diagnostic criteria for PTSD are in flux due to the ambiguity surrounding this disorder. This literature synthesis presents a comprehensive overview of the current treatment options for PTSD to identify common targets and synergies (potent multiplicative benefits rather than merely additive effects). This insight is then used to suggest combinations of synergistically acting components for use in novel integrative therapies. Chronic inflammation, resulting from dysfunction of the immune system, is identified as a defining characteristic in PTSD patients and a target of multiple external modulators. These modulators of the immune response include dietary factors as well as many other aspects of lifestyle. For example, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as Vitamin E can mitigate chronic inflammation and the associated dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. Other novel therapies like trauma sensitive yoga, cannabinoids, therapy dogs, virtual reality exposure, electroacupuncture, probiotics to promote a healthy gut microbiota, exercise, and pharmacology can also be linked to immune-modulatory effects and may thus contribute further to synergistic benefits when used in conjunction with other immune-modulatory therapies. This literature synthesis suggests that a combination of multiple therapies, medications, and lifestyle management has the potential to exert multiplicative benefits in restoring balanced immune and stress responses and thereby treat PTSD. Furthermore, suggestions are formulated for further research and development which is necessary to fully realize the untapped potential clinicians and medical professionals can use to better diagnose and treat PTSD.

Date Awarded
  • 2021-03-31
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Last Modified
  • 2021-05-13
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