Study focuses on combat nightmares
USArmy | May 12, 2009 at 05:18 amby
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Studies are being conducted to reduce combat-related nightmares among Soldiers returning from combat zones.
"A great concern is that a lot of Soldiers coming back from theater having had combat experience have recurring nightmares, along with other symptoms," Peterson said. "Consequently, we wanted to take a look at active-duty Soldiers and see whether or not this would be helpful," Peterson said.
"We believe these nightmares are due to brain adrenaline surges at night, which shouldn't happen," Raskind said. "In a combat situation, your brain does adaptive things, and one of them is to keep you responsive to anything that goes on during the night. Your brain administers adrenaline and gets you aroused."
Raskind explained, however, that when a Soldier leaves the combat environment, the arousal is no longer necessary, but the brain has been trained to keep the Soldier hyper-vigilant.
"If this comes during normal sleep, we think that this is a set up for developing trauma nightmares," Raskind said. "What the Prazosin does is block the adrenaline rush to the brain, so that you can sleep normally."
In a May 2008 information paper, Peterson wrote that, most important, Prazosin is not a sedative, and its use has been increasingly adopted in VA facilities and at Madigan.
"We are finding in our clinical practice, just treating Soldiers on an outpatient basis, that it is working," Peterson said.
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