Benefits Of Yoga For PTSD
According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life.
Did you know that PTSD affects more women than men due to interpersonal violence (Interpersonal violence occurs when one person uses power and control over another through physical, sexual, or emotional threats or actions, economic control, isolation, or other kinds of coercive behavior) experienced either in childhood or adulthood? The statistics are shocking as approximately 9.8 million adult women (that is 10% of the adult female population) have histories of interpersonal violence, and 1/3 of those women develop PTSD.
Many co-morbid disorders are associated with PTSD and can cause considerable distress and disruption to the mind, body and overall well-being. These include hyperarousal and hypervigilance, emotional numbing, flashbacks, insomnia and nightmares, anger and irritability, and social isolation. Depression, anxiety, substance use and abuse, and disrupted personal relationships often manifest as symptoms.
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Yoga and PTSD
Yoga has long been found to help alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety among various populations. Now research suggests that yoga can benefit those suffering from PTSD. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry investigated whether yoga practices might alleviate common symptoms and also improve the lives of women with PTSD.
The 10-Week Study
In this study, sixty-four women with PTSD were randomly assigned to either a weekly 1-hour yoga class or women’s health education for 10 weeks. The weekly 1-hour yoga class incorporated elements of hatha yoga, such as breathing, postures, and meditation. The women’s health education group received weekly 1-hour interactive teaching that addressed medical services, health and body issues, and self-care activities. The results showed that the 10-week weekly yoga program significantly reduced PTSD symptoms and increased the likelihood of loss of PTSD diagnosis.
The Long-term Follow-up
In a new follow-up study found in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, women from the randomized control trial mentioned above participated in long-term follow-up assessments 1.5 years later. They found that frequency of continuing yoga practice significantly predicted greater decreases in PTSD symptom severity and depression symptom severity, as well as a greater likelihood of a loss of a PTSD diagnosis.
These studies are only a few that have been shown to support the claim that yoga is a crucial treatment option for women with PTSD. But don’t think it is limited to just women! Regardless of gender, yoga provides many benefits to help us build strength and courage to overcome the struggle we face and truly enjoy life for each moment it brings.
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