Propanolol, Medicating PTSD

What can happen to your physical self, when it undergoes repetitive stress, is that your stress hormones begin to overreact. If you suffer from this, and feel even a little bit of frustration, your cortisol can shoot up inappropriately, causing your adrenaline to kick in, and give you that flight or fight panic.

This happens without any consent from you. It is a biological reaction, independent of you, meant to preserve your very life. 

It means that you cannot deal with stress effectively. Repeated rushes of adrenaline and cortisol have a damaging effect on your memory, your heart, your mental health, your coping skills, your parenting, your life. Your entire life is affected by this.

I complained about this since I left my abuser. I did not want to feel flight or fight panics over every little thing. I did not want to get overwhelmed by the very normal, sedate life I now have, and have those reactions impair my ability to live, normally.

After a year of asking my doctor, my advocate, my therapist, everyone involved with my care, it was my son’s psychologist who told me about propanolol, .

I do not like anti-anxiety medicine, I do not want to get on the cycle of anti-depressants and psychiatric medications. Propanolol is not one of those. It is a beta-blocker, whatever that means. It is used for hypertension, safely, since the fifties or sixties. It keeps your heart rate from accelerating, it prevents the adrenaline from flooding you.

It works. My side effects are : nothing. Not even dizziness. I have the same moods, I get angry, still. But I don’t lose it. I don’t panic, get overwhelmed. I got very stressed out last Friday. I had an incident involving my identification (a recent name change means that not all my documents reflect my legal name), and the embarrassment pushed my stress level up so far, that I did not feel better until the next evening. I wonder, if I had taken my afternoon dose, how much different it would have been.

It’s almost a miracle.


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