These current times have seen an increasing awareness in the mental health problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder or more commonly known as PTSD. The wars that the United States have created and have been involved in have greatly contributed to the rise of this condition in US soldiers although people who have long endured physical or sexual abuse and violence have also been afflicted with this condition. PTSD is more likely to occur in people who have undergone life-threatening and traumatic experiences. The event usually arises when the sufferer relives the feeling and pain related to the memories. PTSD sufferers likewise demonstrate symptoms of irritability, depression, hyper-arousal and a sense of constant danger among others. Psychotherapies and drugs are the conventional modes of treatment for PTSD; alternative therapies have, however, been shown to greatly also help treat the symptoms of PTSD.
One growing option for treating PTSD is acupuncture, a type of treatment that has been used to treat dozens of various conditions. This treatment involves the insertion of very thin needles into certain points in the body known as acupuncture points to help resolve different kinds of emotional and physical problems. A pilot clinical study performed by a number of researchers lasting three months tested either group cognitive-behavioral therapy or acupuncture as modes of intervention for people with PTSD symptoms. People of another group who served as the control group were placed on a waitlist to undergo treatment. Both group cognitive-behavioral therapies and acupuncture where shown to be very effective in treating PTSD compared to the absence of intervention, according to the researchers. They recommended for more studies to be done regarding this outcome although they agreed that acupuncture can indeed be an effective treatment for PTSD symptoms.
Yoga and general massage therapy are also becoming popular alternatives for PTSD, based on a Massage Today article. A psychologist did a study in 2008 that integrated these two therapies as well as others as main treatments for PTSD-diagnosed soldiers at the Restoration and Resilience Center in Fort Bliss. After the treatment, the patients were able and eager to go back to service. Other introspective and unique therapies such as Qigong utilize intense focus, breathing techniques and physical postures that brought positive results on soldiers. The Center was able to lessen the number of drugs taken by the soldiers, thanks to these integrated alternative therapies. They helped the soldiers become relaxed and also helped them to function normally in their present lives.
The conventional mode of treatment for PTSD since the 1900s was medication as well as forms of group and individual therapy. It is very good news to know that alternative forms of treatment like yoga therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture have proven as equally, if not more than, effective in the treatment of PTSD. Moreover, the likelihood for medical malpractice is considerably less for patients who have opted for alternative modes of treatment.
Photo credit: (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Johnston)