Meditation Can Alleviate the Symptoms of PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect multiple aspects of a person’s life. It can be emotionally, mentally, and physically debilitating. Professional and personal relationships can become difficult, if not impossible, to manage. The key to living with PTSD is finding ways to decrease the symptoms while learning to cope with those that remain. Meditation has been long used as an alternative to medication to alleviate the devastating effects of this disorder.
Causes of PTSD
PTSD can occur following any event that is frightening, stressful, or distressing. It can result from any experience that is traumatic, whether the person is a victim of or witness to the event. These events can include, but are not limited to, physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or military combat. Approximately one third of the people who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD. There are, however, some people who are more susceptible than others. Anyone with a personal or family history of depression or anxiety, or who doesn’t receive much emotional support from family or friends, can be more likely to develop PTSD following a distressing incident.
Effects of PTSD
Those who suffer from PTSD are more likely than others to develop such problems as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or eating disorders. They also are more likely to attempt suicide. There can also be many physical and health problems that can result from PTSD. These can include pain, obesity, heart problems, diabetes and sexual dysfunction. This is probably due to the stress hormones that are released due to the near-constant state of “fight or flight” in which the sufferers find themselves. These mental and physical symptoms can affect the person’s ability to develop or maintain interpersonal relationships.
How Meditation Can Help
Meditation can eliminate the need for medication by alleviating the stress that is responsible for the various effects of PTSD. Mindfulness meditation can be an effective way to decrease the “fight or flight” brain response that is behind the psychological and physical symptoms of this disorder. One reason these methods can be so effective is that people are able to train themselves to stop the cycle of obsessive, negative thinking that is at the core of PTSD. The physical relaxation involved in meditation can also alleviate the physiological stress response.