GW worked very long shifts during the first two weeks since there was so much devastation. Shortly after beginning his tour at ground zero he began to feel very angry, short tempered and intolerant. He also started taking everything personally and had tremendous difficulty sleeping. This was contrary to his normally easy going personality and his ability to fall asleep and stay asleep easily. He expressed that working at ground zero was a nightmare. GW worked at ground zero for one year until September 2002.
Since his personality change was not dissipating, GW sought professional help and saw a psychologist in September 2002 who worked with people who had difficulty adjusting after 911. After a few visits, he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The psychologist wanted him to take a prescription medication but GW refused. One year later in September 2003 he agreed to take the prescription drug Cymbalta. The drug made him feel great but he could not tolerate the side effects. It decreased his libido and he was unable to have an orgasm. GW did not want to be dependent on the drug and also felt that it was just masking his problem and he wanted to deal with it. The prescription was changed to Wellbutrin which helped to some degree. His short temper and difficulty sleeping was not improving and he was still experiencing nightmares.
He started ONDAMED on March 16, 2006 since he had heard about the company’s depression study and that biofeedback may be able to help with his stress. The psychiatrist from Westchester Medical Center, heading up the double blind placebo controlled depression study with ONDAMED, approved him for the study and GW began a course of treatment. He stopped his medication after the first treatment because he felt better and more relaxed.
He was very surprised it had made a difference with just one treatment. He received three treatments over 2 weeks. GW improved with each treatment. By the 6th treatment he was no longer angry and suffering from the other PTSD symptoms. He was able to sleep better, but would still wake up after 3-4 hours. Upon completion of the 6 treatment sessions, GW was seen by the psychiatrist for his follow-up interview on April 7th, 2006. After the interview the psychiatrist confirmed that he had received active treatment and suggested he continue with ONDAMED due to his excellent response to treatment. He continues to see the psychologist once every two weeks.
GW’s sleep disturbance did not improve. He was still waking up 3-4 hours after falling asleep. Once he awoke, he had difficulty to falling back to sleep. Since he experienced excellent results with ONDAMED, he decided to seek treatment to improve his sleep pattern. GW had his first appointment with the practitioner on 9/07/07. He received 8 treatments total from 9/07/07 to 9/24/07. After the third treatment the practitioner informed him that he would feel drowsy. Instead of experiencing drowsiness, he became hyper and felt a spike of energy. That night his sleep disturbance became worse. He had difficulty falling asleep, a symptom that he did not experience previously. After waking up 3-4 hours later, he was completely unable to fall back to sleep. These symptoms continued despite further ONDAMED treatment.
He decided to complete the 8 treatments in the hope that it would still improve his ability to sleep. A few days after his 8th treatment, he slept 7 hours straight without waking up. This was the first time since he was diagnosed with PTSD in 2001. The improvement in his sleep pattern remains significantly improved. He now gets an average 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
(Case Study conducted by Dr. Shari Lieberman)