an After abortion

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Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Stop me before I say "fascinating' again.

Here we have an, uh, absorbing and provocative article from the Sunday magazine of The New York Times, The Quest to Forget. (Link registration required, but it's well worth it. Just do it!)

After her bike-messenger collision, Kathleen was taken to the emergency room of Massachusetts General Hospital. Once her physical wounds were attended to -- she wasn't badly hurt; just a few cuts and bruises -- she was approached by Anna Roglieri Healy, a psychiatric nurse. Healy was engaged in a pilot study to test whether administering drugs immediately after a traumatic event could prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Did Kathleen want to be part of the study?

"The Quest to Forget" is about a drug, propranolol, that interferes with the action of stress hormones in the brain. Some researchers believe it has the potential to prevent people from developing post-traumatic stress disorder if it is taken after a significantly stressful life event.

I wonder what it would be like to have taken this after my abortion.

Besides the deeply interesting description of the impact of propranolol on how traumatic memories are (or are not) implanted in the brain, this article is important to read for those who are interested in the onset of post-abortion traumatic stress disorder. I was especially interested in the observation that four weeks after a traumatic stressor has occurred, people who are going to get better are already starting that process. But some people get stuck, and those people are still stuck (the article says) four years later.

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