Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that is increasingly being diagnosed by physicians throughout the Nation. With more cases of PTSD cropping up, more research of the condition is being conducted—and a recently published study indicates PTSD sufferers can benefit from alternative therapies.
More than 7 million adults are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a typical year in the U.S. The mental health condition, triggered by a traumatic event, can cause flashbacks, anxiety and other symptoms.
A recent study accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), suggests that those who are afflicted by PTSD can benefit from stretching and meditation.
“Mind-body exercise offers a low-cost approach that could be used as a complement to traditional psychotherapy or drug treatments,” said the study’s lead author, Sang H. Kim, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health. “These self-directed practices give PTSD patients control over their own treatment and have few side effects.”
The study found that PTSD patients’ high levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and unusually low levels of cortisol – two hormones used to regulate the body’s response to stress— responded favorably in subjects who participated in mind-body exercises for an eight week-period.
After mind-body exercises, patient cortisol levels in the blood rose 67 percent and PTSD checklist scores decreased by 41 percent, indicating the individuals were displaying fewer PTSD symptoms. In comparison, patients who did not do mind-body exercises had a nearly 4 percent decline in checklist scores and a 17 percent increase in blood cortisol levels during the same period.
“Participants in the mind-body intervention reported that not only did the mind-body exercises reduce the impact of stress on their daily lives, but they also slept better, felt calmer and were motivated to resume hobbies and other enjoyable activities they had dropped,” Kim said. “This is a promising PTSD intervention worthy of further study to determine its long-term effects.”