Meditation and mind training are slowly gaining acceptance in handling people with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder).
Though it is natural to be afraid after a PTSD trigger, the fear sometimes completely stays back in our mind and body, for months or years making us remain edgy, frightened, stressed, disturbed even when there is no hazardous situation. People suffering from PTSD, triggers can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.
Regular practice of mindfulness meditation can help overcome the trauma and equip you to handle ptsd in a better way.
Regular Meditation helps people with PTSD…
Tom Minor, a neuro scientist at the University of California, found out that meditation increases levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, a hormone that repairs cellular damage caused by stress. Meanwhile, it decreases levels of stress related chemicals cortisol and neuropeptide Y, which can damage tissues.
With the help of MRI scans, Martin Paulus, another neuroscientist at the University of California, found that meditation boosts activity in the insula. This part of the brain plays an important role in the perception of bodily sensation — whether a given signal is interpreted as painful or joyful. An active insula may improve the ability to handle trauma by making the body’s physical and emotional signals more noticeable. If we are aware of the emotional signals within us, we will have more control over it and might even adjust to the bad emotions.
Stressful experiences tend to degrade ‘working memory’ or capacity to retain new information. But this is not the case with people who practice meditation regularly. Amishi Jha, a neuro scientist at the University of Miami, who studied the effect of meditation on US marines in Iraq, found the soldiers who practiced meditation, reported improved working memory.
Following a traumatic experience, everyone experiences a shock or even nightmares, which fade out in due course. But in the case of PTSD, the person remains in psychological shock for a long time. Even though the role of medication cannot be ruled out in the treatment of PTSD, meditation can surely lend a helping hand in the healing process.
Roy Clymer, a Vietnam combat veteran and psychologist who worked with wounded Iraq and Afghan war soldiers for 13 years as director of specialized care at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington. “As you develop skill at meditation, you gain the art of acknowledging an emotion when it comes, accepting it — but not doing what we usually do, which is immediately reacting to it.”