Scientists from the Medical school at Washington University in St. Louis (USA) published data from a study of the use of nitrous oxide for the treatment and prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Work in this direction started in 2014 and progress is inconsistent. Scientists were able to prove the possibility of the use of this substance, also known as “laughing gas”, for the treatment of such conditions as alcoholism or clinical depression. But the effectiveness of treatment and duration of positive impact are still in question.

Doctors like nitrous oxide as an analgesic due to the low cost and high safety profile, it is used as a quick pain reliever for the second hundred years. Recent studies have shown that nitrous oxide is capable of blocking the NMDA-receptor is a key tool to ensure the operation of memory and the formation of knowledge, memories and experience. In particular, and negative, which scientists want to “remove” from the brain of a patient suffering from PTSD.

The exact mechanisms of action of nitrous oxide on NMDA-receptor is still under study. In a very simplified form of therapy is to ensure that when you receive a negative experience or feelings, the brain could not remember, it was not created leads to worry and anxiety. For example, if a veteran with PTSD will see footage of the fighting, he could see the panic. But if the view to give the patient nitrous oxide, it will be detached to watch the video without linking frames on the screen with their own memories.

Alas, in practice still varies greatly from patient to patient. Where one gets “enlightened” and more weeks does not experience anxiety attacks other negative symptoms overtake again within a day. With alcohol or depression is still more difficult – the patient is guaranteed subsides after inhalation of laughing gas, but how long will it stay in this state, it is impossible to predict.
Source — University of Chicago Medical Center