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Can Mindfulness Help With PTSD?

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Veterans looking for jobs after the army potentially suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could find that mindfulness-based therapy could help.

New research from the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System has found that this type of stress reduction therapy could drive greater improvements for veterans. If untreated, PTSD is linked to high rates of disability, other mental health conditions and a reduced quality of life.

This latest evidence now suggests that by teaching people to anchor themselves in the present moment in an accepting and non-judgemental way can help to reduce any feelings of anxiety or depression that may be present.

Dr Melissa Polusny, lead author of the research, said that the findings "provide support for the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction for the treatment of PTSD among veterans. However, the magnitude of the average improvement suggests a modest effect."

Symptoms of PTSD avoidance and emotional numbing, and re-experiencing - the most common and typical symptom of the condition. This involves vivid and involuntary flashbacks of the traumatic event in question, potentially also including physical sensations such as trembling, sweating and even pain.

Another symptom is hyperarousal - people with PTSD may be anxious and may struggle to relax. This can lead to insomnia, emotional outbursts, irritability and problems concentrating.

Benefits of mindfulness include improved blood pressure, better stress levels and reduction of chronic pain. It is also thought that it can help to treat various problems such as substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and relationship troubles.

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