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Transcendental Meditation encouraged for treating 'unprecedented levels' of PTSD in veterans
by Global Good News staff writer
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13 December 2010
A psychiatrist who works closely with US military veterans strongly urged support for the Transcendental Meditation Programme to be used in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), from which many veterans suffer.
James Krag, MD, is recent president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and currently clinic psychiatrist with the US Veterans Administration. He was speaking in New York City at the launch of 'Operation Warrior Wellness'—the David Lynch Foundation's nationwide initiative to offer the Transcendental Meditation Technique to 10,000 war veterans and their families.
Dr Krag explained that he works not in a hospital, but in an outpatient clinic, with veterans who have been discharged from service. 'Over the years I've worked with a wide variety of psychiatric illness, but at this clinic I've seen people age 23 to 92, and I've never seen trauma like this,' he said.
'It's very different, and distressing to me, as a treating condition as well—because we want to reach out and help, and unfortunately I have very little as a psychiatrist to offer. We can try, and we prescribe medication, and use therapy.
'But these veterans, whether they were in World War II in Europe or the Pacific, or Korean veterans, or from Bosnia, or from Iraq or Afghanistan—they may be from different times and places, different ages—but what they share is something very similar: trouble sleeping, trouble relating to people, trouble going on with their life.'
Dr Krag related experiences of 'unprecedented high levels of stress and trauma' in veterans he sees in the clinic. Noting the high rate of suicide among veterans, also mentioned by earlier speakers—especially among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan—Dr Krag strongly underscored the urgency of helping them.
'This is a life or death situation,' he emphasized. 'I'm not overdramatizing.'
He praised the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation Technique as a treatment approach, in contrast to traditional psychiatric approaches of medication and therapy.
'When I prescribe medication, there's almost always some type of side effect. With TM there are only benefits.
'When I prescribe a medication, they're invariably going to try a second or a third. It does not lead to self-sufficiency.
In contrast, Dr Krag said, 'Transcendental Meditation can lead to self-sufficiency—and discharge from the clinic.'
Dr Krag's experiences echoed earlier comments by psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal, MD, that soon after learning Transcendental Meditation, people who had been under great stress often were able to continue making progress on their own, 'without ongoing input by mental health professionals'.
Dr Krag concluded by expressing appreciation for the David Lynch Foundation's initiative to raise funds to support use of the Transcendental Meditation Programme in treating veterans. He urged wide support for the programme.
'We need to get the help. I very much want to prescribe Transcendental Meditation for these veterans,' he said.
Global Good News will feature more presentations from the 13 December 'Operation Warrior Wellness' launch in the coming days.
See also Global Good News articles:
∙ 'Experts present research on benefits of Transcendental Meditation for veterans with PTSD'
∙ 'Dramatic improvement in PTSD in Iraq, Afghanistan veterans practising Transcendental Meditation'
∙ 'Distinguished psychiatrist urges Transcendental Meditation to treat PTSD - cites excellence of TM research'
∙ 'Enormous potential for psychiatry' shown by Transcendental Meditation research
Healing the Wounds of PTSD Through Meditation
DLF.TV — David Lynch Foundation Television
To view a bibliography of research on Transcendental Meditation, stress, and stress-related disorders, click here.
To view a replay of the 'Operation Warrior Wellness' conference webcast 13 December, click here.
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