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May 29, 2017

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult to live with. PTSD is estimated to be the third most common psychiatric illness affecting veterans. Controversy over the exact prevalence rates is due to the fact that many cases are under-reported or never diagnosed. One estimate puts the prevalence of PTSD among Vietnam veterans at 31% while it is between 20% in those associated with Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

PTSD can cause severe depression and in fact could be the leading cause of the high number of suicides among veterans. It is estimated that about 8000 veterans commit suicide every year on an average, which is higher than civilian suicides.

What is PTSD?

In some people who experience frightening, extremely traumatic events such as war, the unpleasant memory lingers far after the event. While some get over the trauma over time, many are unable to cope with the stress and continue to experience a range of symptoms that is diagnosed as PTSD.

Symptoms can begin immediately following the trauma, or could take as long as three months to develop or be recognized. The common signs and symptoms include

  • Reliving or re-experiencing the trauma with sudden flashbacks, dreams or nightmares
  • Avoidance that includes staying away from anything that remotely connects or reminds of the traumatic event
  • Reactivity that includes anxiety, trouble sleeping and being on the edge
  • Depression including negative self-thoughts, guilt, trouble remembering the exact details of the event

Treatment and management often involve psychotherapy sessions, support groups and supervision by psychiatrists. In recent times, Tai Chi has emerged as an innovative approach to lessen the burden of PTSD

Tai Chi a Viable Treatment Option for PTSD

Tai Chi is a Chinese form of non-combative martial art that involves slow, rhythmic meditative movements that help in healing and concentration.

In a recent cohort study, 17 veterans experiencing PTSD were enrolled to study the impact of 4 session introduction to Tai Chi. The outcomes measured self-reported satisfaction, feedback, retention and focus rates among the participants. Researchers used questionnaires and personal interviews to obtain feedback post the Tai Chi sessions.

The data analysis revealed that 93.8% of the veterans reported being very satisfied with the program. All the study participants also indicated that they would like to participate in such a program in the future as well. The study participants found Tai Chi to be helpful in alleviating the disturbing symptoms of PTSD including intrusive thoughts, difficulty with concentration and agitation.

Disclaimer: The health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.

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