PTSD Specialist

John How, M.D. -  - A Private Medical Practice

The How Clinic

John How, M.D.

A Private Medical Practice & Bioidentical Hormone Specialist located in Encinitas, CA

In an effort to destigmatize the mental injury that is currently classified as post traumatic stress disorder, many of us who have experienced the symptoms or who interact with others who are dealing with the symptoms of this condition no longer include “disorder” in the title. Rather we will sometimes use PTSI (post traumatic stress injury) or just PTS (post traumatic stress). You will notice that we will use both terms on this site and in some of our literature. This is to avoid confusion as this condition is still commonly referred to as PTSD.

PTSD Q & A

What is post-traumatic stress (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition that develops after someone goes through a traumatic, scary, or dangerous event. You may feel a little uneasy and on-edge after any type of trauma, but most people recover from these symptoms.

However, if you have PTS, you may continue to feel uneasy, on-edge, and fearful, even in situations that aren’t dangerous. You can develop PTS at any age, including children, military, or anyone who’s been through physical or sexual assault, natural disaster, abuse, or accident.

PTS affects up to 8% of people in the United States at some point in their life. 

How is PTSD diagnosed?

A PTSD diagnosis occurs after a comprehensive physical and psychological exam. To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must be exhibiting symptoms from each of the following categories for a month or more:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares

  • Avoidance symptoms, which include avoiding people, places, or activities related to trauma

  • Arousal symptoms, such as being easily startled, on-edge

  • Cognition symptoms, which include difficulty remembering events

  • Mood symptoms, like negative thoughts about oneself, self-blame

Though PTSD symptoms typically develop within a few months of the traumatic event, you may develop PTSD months or even years later. 

How is PTS treated?

The How Clinic offers innovative therapies for the treatment of PTS that support the benefits of your traditional psychiatric care. PTSD treatment at The How Clinic includes stellate ganglion blocks (SGBs) and ketamine assisted psychotherapy.

What is SGB?

A stellate ganglion block or SGB is a sympathetic nervous system “reboot” that improves the functional health of patients suffering from PTS, as well as other behavioral illnesses and disorders. The sympathetic part of your autonomic system (ANS) is responsible for your body’s emergency “fight” or “flight.” When your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is overwhelmed, generally from extreme stress, it becomes programmed to an inappropriately high set point.

The How Clinic commonly uses SGB to treat military personnel suffering from PTS. The innovative treatment improves behavioral illnesses and other disorders following their return to civilian life. 

Using ultrasound-guided technology, your provider at The How Clinic inserts a needle into the nerve bundle in your neck and injects a local anesthetic to reset your nervous system. 

After your stellate ganglion nerve block treatment, you may experience:

  • Restoration of emotional and mental clarity

  • Improved sleep, reduced insomnia

  • Improved PTS symptoms

  • Decreased irritability

  • Feeling less on-edge

  • Ability to interact socially