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Dramatic improvement in war veterans' Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Pilot study on Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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31 January 2010
Results of a pilot study led by Dr Sarina Grosswald* and eminent psychiatrist Dr Norman Rosenthal reveal profound benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Programme for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
A recently produced short film, featuring an Iraq war veteran who participated in the study, reinforces the positive impact of the meditation technique for those suffering from the disorder.
Introducing the film and research results on Maharishi Global Family Chat,** Dr Grosswald began by emphasizing the serious nature of PTSD. She estimated that stress levels experienced in those with the disorder are 10 times as severe as in those with other stress-related conditions.
'Simply a noise, a smell, or an unusual movement can trigger a re-experiencing of a war situation for veterans with PTSD,' she explained. The problem has recently become dire in the US, as more than one-third of soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with PTSD.
In the video, the study participant, a former infantryman in Iraq, began developing symptoms of PTSD a year after returning home. 'Every day, I had the feeling of still being in the war—in the back of my mind,' he recounted. He became especially anxious in urban areas or malls, and had trouble stopping at traffic intersections.
After only five weeks of practising Transcendental Meditation, the young veteran was free of much of his anxiety, and could once again visit places that formerly triggered reliving of wartime experiences.
'I didn't realize that for the last five years, I've been having anxiety attacks nearly every day, because I was so used to pushing them aside,' he said. He described how, with Transcendental Meditation, he was able to be honest with himself, while remaining free from PTSD symptoms.
Dr Grosswald commented that this man's experience illustrates the underlying trend of Transcendental Meditation's effect on PTSD patients. Using standard parameters for gauging symptoms of the disorder, Dr Grosswald and Dr Rosenthal's research found that, during the first four weeks of TM practice, all subjects improved dramatically; during the subsequent four weeks of practice (totaling eight weeks), participants continued to improve at a more gradual rate.
In addition to alleviation of PTSD symptoms, the study revealed equally dramatic improvement in participants' quality of life, as well as marked decrease in depression.
'During all my time as a researcher and teacher, I've never observed results as dramatic as those seen among veterans practising Transcendental Meditation,' remarked Dr Grosswald. 'TM is something these men and women can take with them wherever they go.'
Dr Grosswald and Dr Rosenthal hope to conduct more extensive research on Transcendental Meditation's effect on PTSD in the near future, in conjunction with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.
* Sarina Grosswald, EdD, is an expert in cognitive learning who recently directed the first-of-its-kind research study on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation Programme on children with language-based learning disabilities. Dr Grosswald and her work have been extensively featured in the national media in the US, including PBS and ABC News.
** Dr Grosswald's report was featured on the 26 January 2010 Maharishi Global Family Chat, broadcast daily via Internet webcast on the Maharishi Channel, Channel 3. Podcasts of the daily Global Family Chat (audio track) are also now available for automatic download, via an RSS feed.
© Copyright 2010 Global Good News®
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