How Veterans Use Meditation to Alleviate PTSD Symptoms
It’s no secret that PTSD is a major concern facing Veterans in the United States. When a Veteran seeks treatment at the VA or from a private doctor, they are often prescribed medication to combat the symptoms. While medication can be beneficial for a lot of people, many Vets find that the side effects from medication can cause even more issues. A lot of Veterans seek alternative treatments, many of which we have covered on this blog before. Yoga, community service, and even motorcycle clubs have been covered in the past. Another concept that may help Veterans is meditation.
While many people have heard of meditation, there can be some confusion about the practice. Meditation is defined as engaging in contemplation, reflection, or mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.
So how does this apply to Veterans? A 2016 study found that meditating can actually help Veterans reduce or even eliminate their PTSD symptoms. According to Psychology Today, this study included 74 active-duty service members with PTSD or anxiety disorder. Many of the participants had experienced multiple deployments in recent years and were seeking treatment for PTSD at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
While there are a lot of alternative treatments for PTSD, meditating can be beneficial for many Vets with busy schedules, due to the abundance of meditation apps available for smartphones. One such app is called Headspace. The makers of the app state that “The techniques used within the Headspace app have been refined and developed over many centuries. Their aim is to cultivate awareness and compassion so we can better understand both the mind and the world around us. The additional health benefits that occur with regular meditation are helpful byproducts.”
Use of the Headspace app is quite simple. For individuals who have never meditated before, the app explains in simple terms how it should be used. The program starts out gradually and expands as the user becomes more comfortable. The first session lasts only three minutes. The audio instructor has a soothing, British voice, and explains how to do the breathing exercises efficiently.
The reason the app is such a nice alternative for Veterans who would otherwise visit a yoga studio is that it can be used as an individual is preparing to sleep. Simply insert a set of earbuds and start the lesson. It’s great for people who have busy schedules or those who travel a lot. Ideally, this type of treatment would be combined with yoga taught by a professional instructor but, in a pinch, the app is a great alternative for individuals who don’t want to treat PTSD with medication alone.
To learn more about benefits for PTSD, call the VA Disability Team at Jan Dils, Attorneys, at Law. Also, be sure to ask about a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. For Vets who can’t call right away, fill out this form so a member of the team can contact you at a better time.