Does a PTSD Vaccine Exist?

27 Feb

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an increasingly recognized disorder not only among returning military personnel but in others who have suffered ongoing highly stressful situations. The various forms of psychotherapy that have been used for this disorder have led to mixed results and the numerous medications available have side effects that often prevent their use. Not to mention that they don’t always work.

But what if there was a vaccine that eliminated or reduced the effects of PTSD? One that lessened the fight or flight response these memories often illicit?

A group at MIT believes they might have developed just such a treatment. They discovered that a stomach hormone called ghrelin, which has been implicated in helping generate anxiety responses, is released during highly stressful situations, and the more stressful the situation, the more hormone released. The new “vaccine” tends to block the receptors for this hormone and therefore lessen its effects. It is important to note, that the goal of this treatment is not to alter the person’s personality or memories but rather to blunt the psychological and physiological responses to these stress and panic-producing memories. Hopefully with further study this new form of treatment will pan out.


SFCover 432X648


Stress Fracture, the first in my Dub Walker thriller series, dealt with PTSD and new drugs for its treatment. Not vaccines but rather spinoffs of current forms of treatment. Of course the drug in my fictional story is itself fictional but new drugs are continually being produced for this disorder. If this “vaccine” does indeed prove to be effective and with acceptable side effects, the need for developing new drugs would be decreased. We’ll see.


Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Forensic Psychiatry, Medical Issues


6 responses to “Does a PTSD Vaccine Exist?

  1. Brenda

    February 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Interesteing. Thanks always for the latest!

    Isn’t ghrelin also the hormone that lets you know when you have eaten enough? So won’t they get extremely obese without it?


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      February 27, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Yes it has several such effects. Guess we will see if this is a problem as they continue their research.


  2. Cheryl B. Dale

    February 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I continue to marvel at science!


  3. Sophia Martin

    February 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Am I the only one that sees a potential problem with such a vaccine? Our bodies make us feel fear and stress for very good reasons… I’m imagining soldiers with no fear, and it doesn’t look pretty to me.


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      February 28, 2014 at 8:55 am

      That is a concern. We’ll see how this unwinds as they do more research.


  4. Cathryn Cade

    March 1, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Fascinating theory, thanks for sharing!



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