Morphine helps wounded avoid post-combat stress

By | January 14, 2010

Morphine helps wounded avoid post-combat stress

U.S. combat soldiers in Iraq who received a shot of morphine within an hour of being wounded were less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The painkiller injections are no guarantee of preventing PTSD, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine, but the findings may help doctors find a better way to prevent the debilitating psychic strain of combat.

“We are not sure if the effect is from pain reduction or from an effect morphine has on memory consolidation in the brain immediately after a traumatic event. Or it may be both working together,” Troy Lisa Holbrook of the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego said in a telephone interview.

“We need more research to tease those out and find out which one it is,” she said.

PTSD can cause flashbacks, edginess and emotional numbness. The risk depends on the type of traumatic events a person is exposed to. A 1995 survey found that 7.8 percent of the U.S. population was destined to experience PTSD at some point.

“The search for a ‘morning-after pill’ after exposure to traumatic stress is obviously of great importance,” Dr. Matthew Friedman of the National Center for PTSD wrote in a commentary.

The study of 696 members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, all wounded in Iraq from 2004 to 2006, found that 61 percent of those who eventually developed PTSD had been given morphine, usually within an hour after being wounded.

But 76 percent of those who did not develop PTSD had been given morphine. …

via Morphine helps wounded avoid post-combat stress | Reuters.

Morphine: See opium poppy…

Morphine comes from the latex sap of the opium poppy also known as Papaver somniferum. Opium poppies produce opium, and morphine is one of several alkaloids present in the plant. Morphine is separated from the other alkaloids found in the raw opium usually by a cooking process. – answers

Opium poppy: See Afghanistan…

Based on UNODC data, there has been more opium poppy cultivation in each of the past four growing seasons (2004–2007), than in any one year during Taliban rule. Also, more land is now used for opium in Afghanistan, than for coca cultivation in Latin America. In 2007, 93% of the opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan. This amounts to an export value of about $64 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords and drug traffickers. – wikipedia

Afghanistan: See post-comban stress…

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wear on, hundreds of thousands of veterans are at significant risk for a particularly distressing and impairing mental health syndrome: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. First documented in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980, PTSD becomes a serious risk when a service member experiences, witnesses, or is confronted with an event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others — welcome to any day in the Global War of Terror. – military.com

In other words, Morphine in the title of this post is acting like a drug, pretending it helps you solve the problem it creates.

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