Relief from PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects an estimated one out of ten women today—and women are twice as likely to develop it as men. Women may develop PTSD following a life-threatening event such as military combat, sexual assault or an accident. Characterized by recurring flashbacks, inability to focus, and emotional numbness, PTSD is now thought to be the cause of related problems such as acute anxiety, insomnia, chronic depression, marital discord, substance abuse and suicide.
New Help for Women Veterans
Many experts believe that the epidemic of MST (military sexual trauma) is contributing to the higher rates of PTSD in women veterans. In 2010, 19,000 incidences of sexual assault against female military personnel were recorded, and 71 percent of female military personnel developed PTSD due to sexual assault within the ranks. There is also evidence that differences in the way women process stress and emotions make women more likely to develop PTSD than men—even when exposed to similar types of trauma.
Because conventional counseling has not worked and the suicide rate for veterans continues to climb, many veterans are turning to the Transcendental Meditation technique for help. Research shows that TM dissolves the stress that is at the root of PTSD and its related disorders.
As Tara Wise, director of the National Women Veterans Association of America experienced, “Transcendental Meditation is completely the opposite of trauma. As soon as I started, something shifted. I didn’t have to rehash traumatic experiences.”
Reversing the Stress Response
How does the TM technique create a state that is the opposite of trauma? When a woman veteran practices Transcendental Meditation, her mind settles down and becomes calm, her heart rate decreases, and her body reaches a state of deep rest, allowing it to dissolve deep-rooted stresses and strain.
One study found that the Transcendental Meditation technique is twice as effective as other self-help programs in reducing stress. Other studies have found that TM is twice as effective as conventional approaches for reducing alcoholism and substance abuse. As NIH researcher and Discovery Health TV host Pamela Peeke, M.D., notes, “The research on Transcendental Meditation is excellent. There is a strong connection between TM and reductions in everything from depression and PTSD symptoms to high blood pressure and heart mortality.”
Relevant Scientific Research Findings on the Transcendental Meditation program
- Reduced flashbacks and bad memories
- Greater resistance to stress
- Reduced alcoholism and substance abuse
- Reduces insomnia by 42%
Beck Depression Index (BDI): Widely used inventory for assessing existence and severity of symptoms of depression.
PTS Checklist-Military (PCL-M): Assesses the severity of the DSM-IV defined PTSD symptoms. Widely used by DOD and VA due to its high reliability and validity.
Clinically-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS): 30-item structured interview that assesses, among other factors, DSM-IV defined PTSD symptoms and their effects on social functioning.
Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-Les-Q): 93-item self-report instrument, measuring the amount of satisfaction—
This recently conducted pilot examines the efficacy of the TM technique for treating OEF/OIF veterans with PTS. By the eighth week of practicing TM, veterans experienced a 50 percent reduction in PTS symptoms, according to the Clinician-Administered PTS Scale (the gold standard of PTS testing). The veterans also reported decreased depression and improved quality of life—showing a greater ability to return to their lives after the war. Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011.
In this meta-analysis of 146 independent studies, the TM technique was found to be twice as effective as other techniques for stress and anxiety. Journal of Clinical Psychology 45 (1989): 957-974.