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Africa: Transcendental Meditation helps treat war victims suffering from PTSD
by Global Good News staff writer

Global Good News    Translate This Article
27 April 2013

A new programme is focusing on the large, but underserved, population of Africans who have been victims of violence and war and are now suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The project, called African PTSD Relief, looks at cost-effective methods for treating PTSD on a broad scale and is backed in part by the David Lynch Foundation.

'The project includes ongoing research on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation for African war refugees who are suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,' one of the project's supporters explained. 'This project is supported by the David Lynch Foundation and promises to bring great relief to many millions of Africans and people all around the world.'

But what exactly is PTSD?

According to Colonel Brian Rees, who helped with data analysis on the project and knows about PTSD through his military experience, 'Post-Traumatic Stress results when a situation of extreme stress overwhelms a person's ability to cope. This can inflict psychological trauma.'

This situation of extreme stress can lead to a number of symptoms that fall, generally, into three main categories:

'The first would be intrusive thoughts or dreams, feeling upset when something happens that reminds you of the stressful event, physical sensations. The second category involves avoidance, feeling numb or cut off from people or loved ones, losing interest in things that formerly were enjoyable or having a sense that your future is going to be cut short. The third category falls into hypervigilance, being on edge, feeling angry, distracted, and experiencing insomnia.'

Colonel Rees added, 'There is great concern in the United States for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder . . . due to the decade of wars that we've been involved in' and the epidemic of stress devastating thousands of returning veterans and their families.

Results of the African PTSD Relief project have been very promising, which is good news for PTSD sufferers worldwide.

In a comparison between refugees practising Transcendental Meditation and an evenly matched control group, the meditating group experienced a dramatic drop in symptoms, even after 30 days. In fact, the drop dipped below the symptomatic line altogether. After 135 days, the experience of PTSD symptoms remained low.

In comparison, the control group* experienced a slight increase in symptoms, possibly due to the stress of refugee life—having little support, poor living conditions, and no available jobs.

Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees

This graph shows the changes in posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms as reflected in scores on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL) in the two groups. Both groups indicated severe PTS symptoms at baseline. Visible improvements can be seen in the TM group. While a drop in 11 points on this measure is considered clinically significant, TM practice led to three times that drop in PTS symptoms after 30 days practice. The TM group went to a non-symptomatic level after 30-days and remained low at 135-days. Credit: Maharishi University of Management

See related articles:
Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees
Transcendental Meditation: Solution for PTSD 'epidemic'
Treating PTSD in the military: Transcendental Meditation works
Using Transcendental Meditation to train less stressed military leaders: Norwich University President

* The study was designed so that the control group was a 'delayed start' group.

Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service

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