I apologize for commenting on an old post, but I thought I would add my experience to the list. I suffer from DPD, triggered by smoking weed at the age of 14 or 15. I say triggered because I suffered through severe sexual and emotional abuse and neglect for the first 10 years of my life until I was removed from that environment. Weed triggered it, but it is the trauma that causes it. I got the procedure yesterday 5/25/2021.
I didn't put a name to DPD until very recently. I was diagnosed with PTSD at the age of 17 and I have always believed that was my primary issue. For most of my life, I've found ways to distract myself from dealing with my issues. I primarily distracted myself with work, but I've gotten to a point in my career where I do not need to be in the weeds of all the details and find myself with a lot more free time. It has become impossible to no longer face my demons. I tried anti-depressants, but they did not give me the desired results. I heard about SGB several years ago and decided this year to try it. After scheduling, booking a flight, and paying for the procedure, I found this forum, did some research, and realized what I actually suffered from. I was very tempted to cancel. but decided I had gone this far and would try it.
I booked my appointment through the Stella Center, and quite honestly, I think the procedure should be taken out of their hands. They connected me with a completely and totally unqualified "patient coordinator". This person did not have the right qualifications and did not really understand PTSD or any other mental disorder. I think this is a HUGE mistake. You never talk to a nurse, doctor, or any other qualified person on mental health. Their qualifying process is complete garbage. You answer a few surveys about feelings and recent experiences, which really should be guided with a qualified individual, they ask you a few medical questions, and then approve you. It was a huge red flag for me from the beginning, but when you are desperate to feel alive, you will do anything.
The doctors I went to for the procedure are in Dallas, TX, and that staff was great. They are not affiliated with Stella Center outside of contracting to do the procedure. I actually had a bit of an emotional breakdown there and started crying. They were very compassionate and understanding. They calmly walked me through the process and showed great concern for my well being. I would give them a 4.5/5 for sure. However, at the same time, they have no mental health individuals on staff and the doctors are pain management experts with very little psychiatric expertise. I think their understanding of PTSD is likely limited. The doctor wanted to go ahead and do the left side too, since I flew 700+ miles to be there, but the Stella Center patient coordinator never made me aware of that option, and told me to book my flight home 8 hours after the procedure, which is what I did. If I would have realized I could have stayed an extra day and went ahead and got the left side done too, I would have went ahead and done so.
The procedure itself sucked because you are getting two needles stabbed into your neck and that alone creates a lot of anxiety, but I didn't feel any pain and my side-effects were minimal. My left arm was numb for a while, and my right eye was red and droopy. These side-effects were expected and lasted about the 8 hours I was told they would last. Today, I don't have any pain and just a little tenderness' in the neck. While doing the procedure, the doctor told me that most patients feel a "pop" in the brain and start to feel instant relief. I did not feel this pop or relief, and the doctors kind of looked at me expecting some sort of "new me". Honestly, that is what I was hoping for because that is how Stella Center sells it. I was definitely calmer after the procedure was done, but I could not really equate this to the success of the procedure or simply being done with the procedure. I felt a lot of pressure to say "yeah, I feel different" and I wonder how many people get the procedure and succumb to that pressure and that success rates are skewed higher than they should be. I can 100% for sure say that it has had zero impact on DPD (at least so far). I will give the procedure time to see if it will help with anxiety and the jumpy and easy startle symptoms of PTSD.
I think the PTSD symptoms have lessened over the past two decades and that DPD is the lingering major disorder. Because of this, unless Stella is willing to make and pay for all of my accommodations, I will not back and get the left side done. Despite their "waiver", I do think there is a lot of potential that Stella could be sued.
I am not writing this to discourage anyone who is considering the procedure, but this is my experience. My biggest concern is that the Stella Center is simply mining for gold by selling snake oil to a lot of people. I have no doubt it probably works for a certain group of individuals with a certain type of PTSD, but the Stella Center does not do proper due diligence to make sure the right patients are getting the procedure. They will basically accept anyone who signs the waiver and I think some of their practices are misleading or at the very least ineffective.