Having had severe PTSD after my husband’s accidental death in a plane crash here at our airport and farm, I was given medications to help me sleep. I no longer take these medications and have been able to pretty well solve my “sleep problems” without medication by limiting anything like coffee or tea after noon, and other measures. I still try to stay on top of the treatments for PTSD though, as I continue to have some of the symptoms. I watch for research studies concerning PTSD and recently, an interesting new study in a common medication given for sleep problems and insomnia in people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a common problem in people who have suffered trauma or extreme stress. The medication is “ambien” or “Zolpidem” The link to the study is below.
A popular anti-insomnia medication, zolpidem (Ambien, sanofi-aventis US), increases the ability to remember images, but only those that have negative or highly arousing content, new research shows.Investigators at the University of California, Riverside, improved memory by pharmacologically manipulating sleep in 28 healthy volunteers.Although the participants did not have sleep problems, study coauthor Sara Mednick, PhD, said that the findings have potential ramifications for patients prescribed zolpidem for relief of insomnia due to anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”Physicians should watch out for this countertherapeutic effect in patients with anxiety disorders and PTSD,” Dr. Mednick told Medscape Medical News. “These are people who already have heightened memory for negative and high-arousal memories.”The findings were published online June 14 in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. The significant difference in memory accuracy with zolpidem existed for both negative and high-arousal stimuli but not for positive or low-arousal stimuli.
“I was surprised by the specificity of the results, that the emotional memory improvement was specifically for negative and high-arousal memories,” Dr. Mednick said in a statement.
Dr. Kohler said he also found the effect that zolpidem had on memory surprising.
Drugs known as benzodiazapam are also similar in results when given for insomnia.
It is interesting to note that I was prescribed this medication by my psychiatrist after the plane crash that killed my husband and the PTSD I had then, and the exacerbation of that problem when my son sent a friend of his to kill me. It makes me wonder now, if this could have kept me more focused on the traumas.