As soldiers across the globe return from war, the horrors often follow. Luckily, many of us have never experienced the hellish fog of war. We get all wrapped up in our games like Call of Duty and Battlefield 3, but in all honesty, have no idea what war is really like. War is hell.
It’s therefore good to know that researchers are working with returning Vets to help them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. This is an often debilitating condition which was widely referred to as “shell shock” for years. It’s hell that follows you home.
Mindfulness meditation is being used effectively to combat this debilitating condition. In a recent article on PsychCentral titled, “Mindfulness and the Military: Does Self-Acceptance Help Veterans?“, author Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D writes:
A recently published article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology by Kearney, McDermott, Malte, Martinez, and Simpson (2012) may have broad implications for veterans suffering with symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
These researchers demonstrated that engagement in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) showed significant improvements after six months in reducing soldiers’ symptoms of PTSD, depression, behavioral activation (the ability to engage in activities to achieve a goal in spite of aversive symptoms), and self-acceptance.
He goes on to state that:
Forty-seven percent of the veterans in the study showed clinically significant improvements in their PTSD symptoms. This highlights the fact that sustainable symptom reduction may be possible by employing a mindfulness technique. MBSR and other mindfulness-based meditation practices may provide broad-based ancillary interventions in the treatment of PTSD that can complement the current psychotherapeutic and pharmacological practices.
Forty-seven percent is a pretty significant number. While the efficacy still seems dependent on other therapies including pharmacological ones, the promise is certainly there. Perhaps with more research we can provide our returning Vets with good natural ways to defeat PTSD and return to somewhat normal lives. Let’s hope and help.
Here’s a good video explaining more about mindfulness and PTSD than I ever can in this post:
Here are some links to more information to get you started, or help someone else:
US Department of Veteran Affairs – National Center for PTSD (USA, but applicable to any human being)
PTSD, Mindfulness, and Psilocybin – (We’re not advocating the use of drugs, but this is a good read)