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Meditating veterans experience reduced PTSD symptoms

Like so many others his age, David George enlisted in the U.S. Army with a desire to serve his country. “It’s what I always wanted to do, so I went down to the recruiter and signed up.”

After serving in Iraq, David returned home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Now he is involved in a study on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on traumatic stress. This video best describes his experience:

According to a recent story in the Washington Post, the RAND Corporation estimates that nearly 20 percent of returning veterans, or 300,000, have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.

Can practicing the TM technique help?

In previous research published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology in 1985 scientists randomly assigned Vietnam combat veterans to either Transcendental Meditation (TM) or psychotherapy (generic) treatment conditions. After three months, the TM subjects showed significant improvement in PTSD and related symptoms.

The preliminary results of the current study are also quite positive. David and the others participants quickly started to experience a change in their PTSD symptoms.

As David recalls:

“The jitters stopped, the need for alcohol stopped…. The first time I meditated I experienced this relief from the constant anxiety attack my life had become….

You have to give yourself a chance to make your life better. Now that I have the control over how I feel, and what I do makes me feel better, I just want to stay as good as I can. Now being someone who has meditated for a year and two months, I’m so happy. I’ll never stop. It just has this compounding effect of getting better and better, and this great feeling lasts longer and longer the more I meditate. Why stop?”

References:

The influence of the TM technique on stress:
http://www.tm.org/health-benefits-stress

The influence of the TM technique on depression:
http://www.tm.org/benefits-depression-adult

More information about post-traumatic stress disorder:
http://www.ptsd.va.gov/