A typical conventional approach from a 10-minute visit with an MD in response to a case like the one described regarding the patient with PTSD, obesity and back pain would likely be to:
- Prescribe psychiatric drugs for the PTSD They are often ineffective and cause a great deal of side effects. They also stop working over time. Many also cause additional weight gain.
- Prescribe pain drugs for the back pain. Most pain drugs are a bad idea. Even most of the over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol and Advil can be unsafe and they all have side effects; some of them significant. The only fairly safe pain drug is medical cannabis.
- Provide the useless suggestion that they should lose weight. Without an effective appetite suppressant most people will not be successful in weight loss.
Our integrated approach to a case like this would be to:
- Stabilizing the patient is the first step. In many cases cannabis is a very good approach to stabilization because it helps with the flashbacks and nightmares of PTSD but also with other symptoms; such as helping patients sleep better. It is also helpful for pain with almost no side effects. People getting on cannabis will almost always report a reduction of all their PTSD symptoms, improved well-being, their lives get better in many respects, and they usually report no side effects. The only negative of cannabis is the cost which is not covered by insurance.
- For back pain we can offer chiropractic/physical therapy, acupuncture, prolotherapy and hypnosis (which can be very successful in chronic pain cases). Hypnosis will also help alleviate PTSD symptoms.
- For obesity: first we wait and see what cannabis does, if this is how we start the case. Fairly frequently it will make the patient happier by helping them sleep better, reduce pain and reduce PTSD symptoms. This alone will often cause weight loss through less emotional eating and higher activity level. If cannabis alone is insufficient, we can look at Neuro Research Protocol for appetite suppression and hypnosis to help the patient turn their mind around and quell their eating compulsion. The same supplements also work as an antidepressant, so they add benefits on top of cannabis, and in some cases can be used to replace it.
- Some people may benefit from homeopathy, in particular for the PTSD symptoms.
So, multiple modalities would be used, many effective for several symptoms in the case, in the long run causing deep and lasting improvement.