HOUSTON - The death of her father, coupled with an abusive relationship, sent Alexis Francis down a dark, emotional road.
“It was bad,” she said. “I wanted to drown myself out of my own thoughts.”
For years, Francis tried to mask the emotional pain with alcohol. But once she entered rehab, she got a diagnosis that helped put the puzzle together. She had post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I would describe it as an unending nightmare,” she said.
The majority of people with PTSD suffer from insomnia, terrifying dreams and other sleep issues connected to their trauma.
“They're having lingering effects of the trauma they experienced, so they may have flashbacks,” psychiatrist Dr. Olga Lapeyra said. "They may (also) have unwanted memories, anxiety (and) irritability associated with it.”
Lapeyra is part of a clinical trial underway in Miami, Austin and Dallas called the Recovery Study.
Researchers are investigating the benefit of a medication called TNX-102 S-L.
“It is a small, rapidly disintegrating tablet of cyclobenzaprine,” Lapeyra said.
The drug has already been safely prescribed for many years in the United States as a muscle relaxant.
“In prior studies with PTSD, it was found that the subjects who did take TNX-102 S-L did have deep and restorative sleep,” Lapeyra said.
Francis hopes the findings may one day benefit her and so many others with PTSD.
“I pray every single day just for peace,” she said.
Anyone between the ages of 18 to 65 who experienced trauma within the past nine years may be eligible for the study, which is now in the final stage needed for Food and Drug Administration approval.
To learn more about the study and determine eligibility, visit this website.
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