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Helping veterans overcome post-traumatic stress disorder: David Lynch Foundation
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28 December 2010
One of the important initiatives of the David Lynch Foundation is to provide programs to heal the wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans; support the families of veterans with PTSD who are hospitalized or have lost their lives; and empower military personnel and military students with the tools to promote mental and physical resiliency.
Overcoming the nightmare of post-traumatic stress disorder
∙ Over 500,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 suffer from PTSD.
∙ Forty percent of all homeless people are veterans.
∙ Health care costs for all veterans with PTSD will be an estimated $6.2 billion biannually.
∙ Eighteen veterans will commit suicide every day—a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, more veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Approach of the David Lynch Foundation: Operation Warrior Wellness
Veterans are often loath to acknowledge to themselves or others their inner wounds of war after they return home from combat. Healing those wounds of war requires an approach that directly impacts the neurophysiology underlying PTSD.
Operation Warrior Wellness offers Transcendental Meditation, a scientifically proven approach, which can be easily learned and practiced in private, to help veterans overcome the nightmare of PTSD, while simultaneously promoting resiliency and improved performance in civilian life. Thousands of veterans have learned Transcendental Meditation and research on meditating vets has shown that the technique not only reduces the psychosocial symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, but also balances serotonin and norepinephrine, and regulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Transcendental Meditation is a simple, easily learned technique, practiced for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. The technique produces a profound state of rest and relaxation as deep as deep sleep, while enlivening the full brain. This experience of restful alertness is at the basis of the marked reductions in symptoms of PTSD and the overall improvement in the quality of life of the veteran.
Scientific research has documented the beneficial effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique in reducing stress and related disorders. A few highlights:
∙ Decreased Depression. Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment. Journal of Counseling and Development, 1985: 64:212-215.
∙ Decreased Anxiety. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1989: 45(6), 957-974.
∙ Decreased Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The effects of a stress-management program in a high security government agency (on depression). Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 1999: 10, 341-350.
Short videos on the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation program in treating post-traumatic stress in veterans are featured on the Military page of the David Lynch Foundation website:
∙ Iraq veteran talks about TM and PTSD
∙ ''It was the difference between heaven and hell.''
∙ ''The experience that I've had from TM basically saved my life.''
∙ Overcoming the trauma of combat: Sarina Grosswald, EdD, researcher on Transcendental Meditation and PTSD
For more about current initiatives of the David Lynch Foundation with military veterans, including the recently launched Operation Warrior Wellness project; as well as how to implement a program, click here.
Future Global Good News articles will feature more about the work of the David Lynch Foundation with homeless shelters, American Indians, and prisons, as well as global outreach programs to help at-risk children in violence-ridden regions of the world.
© Copyright 2010 David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace
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