Could a simple shot in the neck be a break-through for the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder? The toll from PTSD is growing. About 20 veterans a day commit suicide in what the VA is now calling an epidemic. Only 40% find relief from PTSD with current treatments. The new procedure called stellate ganglion block, or SGB, is so fast-acting that many believe it could be a game changer. Used for decades to treat chronic pain, it’s only recently been tried for PTSD. Now the U.S. Army is spending $2 million to find out more. Nobody is calling it a cure, but the promise of a new therapy can’t come soon enough for many veterans we spoke with – frustrated and despairing that nothing they have tried has worked.
John Zehring: My PTSD was like a monster on your back that controls your entire life.
This is what Sgt. First Class Jonathan Zehring faced during his 455 days as part of the American offensive in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan. The densely forested mountains provided cover for the Taliban fighters who launched almost daily attacks. After 15 months, Zehring couldn’t shake the feeling he was going to be ambushed at any moment.