We usually hear about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in relation to soldiers coming back after serving in active duty, but it can be caused by any kind of traumatic event. It pertains to a severe anxiety disorder that causes such strong, overpowering recollections of episodes making up the entire unfortunate experience. Horrible nightmares, emotional numbness, and anti-social tendencies are also common among sufferers.
It is typical for war veterans who suffer from PTSD to always be on guard and on heightened emotional arousal. As you can imagine, this could cause trouble in their relationships with partners, as well as family and friends. When not treated, the condition may rapidly lead to problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempts.
There are several different methods of PTSD treatment being explored right now, one of which is mindfulness therapy. This has a high success rate in reducing depression and anxiety. It is also easier to administer since less professional expertise is required, making it more appealing to veterans who have a hard time accepting that they suffer from PTSD.
How does mindfulness-based therapy help people with PTSD? It works on a principle similar to yoga, making use of meditation and relaxation techniques. Its aim is to distract patients from their overly preoccupied and aroused thought patterns and emotional distress. It has long ago proven its utility in treating conventional, non-traumatic anxiety and depression.
One study shows that returned soldiers who went through mindfulness-based therapy manifested a considerable decline in PTSD symptoms in the short term compared to those undergoing other mainstream therapies for depression and anxiety. Results in symptoms reduction were at 49 percent for mindfulness therapy versus 28 percent for control therapy. Fortunately, the researchers followed up two months later and found that the recipients of mindfulness therapy had not lost their PTSD diagnosis. This indicates that although the therapy works in the short term, more work is necessary to establish its efficacy, especially in comparison with traditional trauma-focused approaches.
Mindfulness-based therapies do not as yet present themselves as replacements to existing trauma-based psychological treatments that enjoy more established, evidence-based success, but they show promise and may take part in a broader, more comprehensive treatment plan.
Alternative psychological approaches continue to be developed and explored to better cater to ex-servicemen whose symptoms manifest a combination of PTSD and other psychological and medical problems. A more extensive range of therapeutic options that can be personalised to specifically cater to the particular needs and preferences of a patient and his or her family is targeted in order to provide a significantly more effective response to this clear and present danger to our veterans and even to society in general.
If you’re struggling with the effects of trauma or PTSD, search for one of our psychotherapists that specialise in post traumatic stress disorder.