PTSD: Can Meditation Help?


When you hear the term Post-traumatic stress disorderOr, PTSD, you might think of a returning veteran who has flashbacks of being in battle but PTSD is not something that only veterans experience. The VA’s National PTSD Center estimates that 7 or 8 in 100 people (or 7% -8% of the population) will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. Many people have found it Meditation It can help with PTSD care.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a Psychological health The problem some people face after going through a traumatic event, which can be anything from being in a car accident or surviving a natural disaster to being the victim of a violent crime or fighting a battle. Most people have some type of Stress Reaction after trauma, feeling restless, on edge, or difficulty sleeping. In most cases, however, symptoms ease over time. But for some people, they can continue with everyday life.

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“Even though the event happened a long time ago, physiologically and psychologically, it is as if it is still happening at that moment for that person,” says clinical psychologist Autumn Gallegus Greenwich, Ph.D, assistant professor at Psychiatry At the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The body will react as if it were in danger,” which keeps these symptoms constant.

The main four PTSD symptoms It includes:

  • Revive the event
  • Avoid places, situations, or people that remind you of the event
  • Feeling negative more than you used to, and you find it difficult to feel happy or feel positive emotions. Many people with PTSD say they feel numb.
  • Malaise. This symptom, called “hyper-awakening,” means that it is difficult to relax, you are easily amazed, and you may be more angry and weird than you have been before.

Can PTSD be treated?


“In the past, when we were learning PTSD treatment“It was thought to be a chronic disorder that you should learn to live with and deal with symptoms,” says Dr. Paula B. Schnur, executive director of the National Center for PTSD and professor of psychiatry at the Giselle School of Medicine in Dartmouth. People will successfully recover from PTSD, especially with appropriate treatment. It is common to experience more than one. “

Treatments may include prolonged exposure therapy, where you work with a therapist to safely expose yourself to the thoughts, feelings and situations that you have been avoiding, and cognitive therapy, where you learn to recognize and change negative thoughts. . It is very effective in helping to cope with PTSD. The National PTSD Center has a decision-making tool to help find the right approach for you:

How can meditation help?

Meditation is a mind-body practice that involves paying close attention to the present moment, combining focus and awareness of your body, your breathing, your thoughts, and the sensations around you. Helps focus, Reducing stress, And increase calm. Meditation itself is not a treatment for PTSD, but when used in conjunction with one of the treatment programs described above, or as an ongoing practice to help manage stress once you undergo treatment, it can be very helpful.

“Attention training is the first step,” says Gallegus Greenwich, who studies how mind-body practices affect posttraumatic stress. Symptoms of stress. “In mindful meditation, you focus on the present moment. Not everything you feel will be comfortable. You may hear traffic. Perhaps your body is uncomfortable. Through mindfulness meditation, you will notice what you feel and remain in this steady position, you just have to allow this feeling To be present without the need to change or fight anything. “

“My patients who practice meditation and other types of mindfulness practices often report less irritation, less anger, and a greater sense of control,” says Shaylie Jane, a psychiatrist at the VA Palo Alto Health System in California. National Center for PTSD. “They can slow down their reactions and be a little more controlling, more present and rational rather than reactive.”

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Although not much research has been done, a limited number of studies have shown that meditation improves PTSD symptoms depression. “As a physician, I see meditation as a very powerful supplement to Psychiatric treatment“Certainly, there don’t seem to be any negative effects or downsides of meditation for PTSD,” Jain says.

How can you find a meditation program that works for you if you have PTSD? Gallegus Greenwich suggests searching for the terms “trauma-appropriate meditation” or “trauma-sensitive meditation.” “ For people with PTSD, part of recovery is learning to feel in control again, so you want to work with a program that doesn’t insist on shutting down eyes Or sit a certain way. “

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If you are in Psychiatric treatment, Schnur suggests asking your therapist to recommend a meditation class or app that he thinks may be helpful for you. “Many VA facilities offer meditation lessons to support veteran care,” she says.

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VA also offers a free Mindfulness Coach app to help you embrace simple mindfulness exercise, which is available to anyone, not just veterans. Other apps recommended by experts include Headspace, Calm, and Ten Percent Happier.

Just setting aside 5 minutes a day to practice meditation into your routine can make a big difference. Not k Antibiotics It is an ongoing wellness practice that many people who have PTSD or don’t use in their lives every day, ”says Schnur.


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