A new study coming out of the University of South Carolina shows extremely promising results for a new treatment for PTSD and substance abuse.

Although the new treatment is being misbranded as a pharmaceutical intervention - the substance being used is actually quite natural and has been known to many in the natural health world as a very beneficial supplement for quite some time.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) when combined with group Cognitive Behavioral Thereapy (CBT) was demonstrated in the study to be more effective than CBT alone as well as more effective than FDA-approved SSRIs at treated PTSD cravings and depression.

The trial conducted by Dr. Peter Kalivas, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina and Dr. Sudie Back, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at MUSC involved a group of Viet Nam veterans suffering from PTSD.

Veterans in the group treated with NAC showed a 46% reduction in PTSD symptoms.

A placebo group showed a 25% reduction.

The percentage scale was measured by the clinical administered PTSD scale (CAPS) - a scale in which the threshold score is 50.

"As a group, the NAC-treated veterans were below diagnostic level for PTSD at the end of treatment," said Back. "For PTSD, these are some of the best outcomes we have seen in the literature for a medication."

According to the press release,
Craving and depression were also reduced in the NAC-treated group. The amount of craving was reduced by 81% and the frequency of craving by 71% in the NAC group, compared with 32% and 29% in the placebo group. "Craving is a key component of substance use in relapse," said Back.

"If you have a medication that can really reduce craving, that will go a long way to helping people stay clean and sober." Depression, gauged using the Beck Depression Inventory, was reduced 48% in the NAC group vs. 15% in the placebo group.
The researchers, however, were quick to point out that NAC alone should not be used as a substitute for traditional behavioral treatment but that it might be seen as an adjunct, enhancing therapy.