Meditation might sound to be a very unlikely activity for people trained to use guns and bombs. But according to experts, this mental exercise could actually help war veterans recover from PTSD.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs in the US, around 11 and 20 per cent of veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and 31 percent in Vietnam wars developed post traumatic stress disorder – a mental illness that develops after an exposure to any event or situation that results in psychological trauma. People with this condition usually suffers from disturbing symptoms, such as nightmares, recurring traumatic feelings, anxiety, difficulty in sleeping, uncontrolled anger, and hyper-vigilance. In some cases, patients commit suicide.
To reduce, if not put an end to the increasing number of war veterans developing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and committing suicides, the US war veterans suggested the use of meditation.
The idea was proposed by Luke Jensen, a former undercover police officer who suffered from severe mental disturbance on arrival in Afghanistan. He said after trying to commit suicide in front of his family, he agreed to try transcendental meditation which saved his life.
Currently, Jensen works at the Department of Veterans Affairs, helping stressed out veterans get over PTSD and other mental disturbances.
There is a growing concern about PTSD because it accounts for the increasing number of suicides among the military veterans. Last year, records show that 349 war US war veterans committed suicide – a figure higher than those who were killed by the enemies. On an average, 22 war veterans commit suicide every day. Although being in the actual combat is considered the major cause of this mental disorder, the Department of Veterans Affairs says simply witnessing the effects of bombing, and being in a hostile situation can also contribute to PTSD. Another cause is military sexual trauma, which often affects female personnel. In the report by the Department, it says 23 percent of women experienced sexual assault in their ranks and more than half of them were sexually harassed.
Meditation is a two-thousand year-old mental practice that provides plenty of benefits. Research shows that mindfulness meditation enhances the area of the brain responsible for forming positive emotions. For the past years, psychologists across the globe have considered meditation as a potential course of treatment for people with PTSD. In fact, in one study involving Vietnam War veterans with PTSD, it was found that after three weeks of transcendental meditation, symptoms such as alcohol abuse, anxiety, high startle response, and emotional numbness reduced, as compared to the control group.
With 10% off prices for British Forces Members and Ex-Members, why not book yourself a meditation session?
Best wishes, Steve