ACUPUNCTURE MAY ALLEVIATE PTSD SYMPTOMS
Classified as an anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from the experience or witnessing of traumatic or life-threatening events such as terrorist attack, violent crime, torture, genocide, natural disaster, and military combat.
Symptom clusters of PTSD include re-experiencing of the event (intrusive memories, flashbacks), emotional numbing and/or behavioral avoidance of trauma-related stimuli and hyper-arousal (difficulty sleeping, irritability, being easily startled).
PTSD has multiple categorizations. Persons whose work exposes them to traumatic events or who treat trauma survivors may develop secondary PTSD (compassion fatigue). These occupations include emergency medicine specialists, police officers, firefighters, search-and rescue personnel, and disaster investigators. Complex PTSD, also referred to as ‘disorder of extreme stress’ results from exposure to prolonged traumatic circumstances, such as the ongoing threat of insurgent attacks among military personnel currently in active deployment.
According to the National Center for PTSD (US Department of Veterans Affairs), about 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in recent war zones experience combat-induced PTSD, a categorization of PTSD more difficult to treat than PTSD caused by other traumas. Most individuals with PTSD have dual diagnoses with depression, anxiety and/or panic disorders. The most effective treatment modalities include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT-exposure therapy, anxiety management) and medication. Treatment is complex, due to the myriad of trauma possibilities.
Acupuncture can be an effective addition to treatment regimens for PTSD, alleviating symptoms including insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression. It can also reduce body pain without medication side effects. Use of complementary therapies (acupuncture, massage, and herbal/food supplements) is widespread among active military veterans.
"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne