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Forbes France: One in Ten French People May Suffer from PTSD

 

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(photo from Flickr by ResoluteSupportMedia with commercial usage permission)

Meditation techniques find their place among solutions offered to solve the delicate problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One in ten French people might be affected!

One in Ten French People May Suffer from PTSD

June 29, 2018
by Jo Cohen
Disclosure statement: I am currently working as a consultant for the SelfCompetence company, based in Luxembourg.

At first glance, the statistics seem overestimated. Yet, if we add up witnesses and victims of attacks, victims of natural disasters, road accident victims, women victims of rape and sexual assault, women victims of domestic violence, soldiers returning from a mission, police and firefighters facing tragedies, emergency doctors and all those facing violent deaths, etc., it suddenly seems more realistic, to the point of representing a real societal problem.

After a physical or emotional shock, victims and witnesses may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. All ages are affected by the repercussions of such violence. Following the attack in Nice on July 14, 2016, 400 children—some of whom suffered this shock before they started to talk—are monitored for this syndrome.

In the military, the devastation is widespread. “20% of soldiers returning from a mission are affected by this syndrome,” said Laurent Melchior Martinez, military doctor, during the program aired on this subject by France 5 on June 6 [1]. In the United States, 150,000 cases of suicide have been counted among Vietnam veterans, three times more than the number of soldiers killed in action during that terrible war.

“Today, managing these traumas has become a public health issue in France,” says Muriel Salmona, psychiatrist, president of the Association for Traumatic Memory and Victimology. The question asked is simple: can one regenerate after such a shock? And if yes, how? The broadcast allowed to gauge the still insufficient availability of care in France, despite the improvements observed in recent years,, while identifying the diverse solutions offered: from in hospital psychiatric care to alternative techniques such as EMDR [2] or meditation outside the hospital.

The often “invisible” symptoms of this disorder are numerous: sleep disruption, nightmares, heart troubles, hyper-vigilance, agoraphobia, traumatic flashbacks, depression or self-aggressive acts that can lead to suicide, etc., so many disorders that often turn into chronic diseases. In every day life, survivors feel permanently in danger, haunted by the sounds and images that make them relive their ordeal without a break. The door of a car slamming a little too loud is enough to wake up poorly buried fears.

Video insert from the broadcast on France 5 [5]

Neuroscience helps better understand brain disorders that occur during such traumas. Connected to emotions, the amygdala [3] prepares the body to flee or fight any danger. If the danger is transient, the prefrontal cortex first gives control to the amygdala that prepares for fight or flight, but once the danger is over, immediately takes it back. In the case of a serious traumatic shock following a violent attack, or when the danger is continuous, e.g. a soldier on hostile territory, the amygdala remains permanently activated, creating a state of hyper-vigilance that disrupts the prefrontal cortex cognitive functions . For its part, the hippocampus that stores the memory of events atrophies.

What are the results of the solutions proposed to solve such dysfunctions? The anti-depressants treatments recommended by clinical psychiatrists, have shown little effectiveness. Long-term psychotherapy, very popular in the US military, does not yield convincing results either. The transcranial magnetic stimulation used in Canada deactivates the amygdala and leads to some improvements.

Among the practices outside hospitals, EMDR seems promising since a test with eight soldiers in the Marseille region gave them real relief. The only problems: its high cost and the lack of practitioners of this eye technique inspired by Ayurveda. Mindfulness meditation, considered insufficiently effective practiced alone, has been associated with scuba diving. A trial conducted in Guadeloupe with 34 survivors of the Bataclan terrorist attack (Paris, November 15, 2013) allowed them to reduce their antidepressants, although the subjects do not feel completely cured. 5f2d0a19-b51f-4297-a878-bf5a50869398

Reduction of PTSD symptoms using a meditation technique

Among meditation techniques, Transcendental Meditation has given the best results. The effects of this independent practice build up over time. A study funded by the US military has shown its superiority over long-term psychotherapy [4]. A recent meta-analysis has shown that it can be up to ten times more effective than mindfulness meditation (see chart). Based on private donations, filmmaker David Lynch’s foundation [5] has provided Transcendental Meditation training to several thousand veterans in the United States, Africa and Europe.

Besides these dry figures, the testimony of Frenchman Michael Crepin, with 22 years of Foreign Legion service, confirms the quick and concrete results offered by the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. Like many veterans, Michael suffered from PTSD. At times, he even thought of committing suicide. “I was a soldier with a soul shattered by sufferings unseen by many, after having lived to witness the death of my brothers in arms, after experiencing the atrocity of war in the Afghanistan desert.” Supported by the David Lynch Foundation in France, Michael and his wife learned the technique. “From week to week it gives me a peace of mind, and I would even say of the soul, that I haven’t had since I returned from my mission in Afghanistan,” says Michael. His dearest wish? That all his brothers in arms could learn Transcendental Meditation.

[1] The program “Attacks, aggression: overcoming the trauma” was broadcast on June 6 2018 by France 5 in “Enquêtes de santé” (“Investigations into Health”) by Michel Cymès, M.D. and Marina Carrère d’Encausse.
[2] EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is described as “moving your eyes to heal the mind”. The method was founded by American psychologist Francine Shapiro. It is inspired by Drishtis techniques taught in Ayurveda.
[3] The amygdala is a pair of nuclei located in the anterolateral region of the temporal lobe within the uncus, in front of the hippocampus and under the peritonsillar cortex. It is part of the limbic system and is involved in the recognition and evaluation of the emotional valence of sensory stimuli, in associative learning and in the associated behavioral and vegetative responses especially in fear and anxiety. The amygdala functions as a warning system and is also involved in detecting pleasure (source: Wikipedia).
[4] “Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Psychotropic Medication Use Among Active Military Service Members With Anxiety and PTSD,” in the journal Military Medicine, Volume 181, Issue 1, 1 January 2016, Pages 56–63.
[5] Website: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org

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Article from Forbes France </www.forbes.fr/lifestyle/syndrome-de-stress-post-traumatique/>, translated by G. van Gasteren and A. Antinori

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New article just been published in Elephant Journal, one of the top yoga journals

​A new article has just been published in one of the top yoga journals, Elephant Journal. Dr, Scott Terry, Ed.D., LCPC, LMFT, Ch.T., has 25 years of practice as a doctoral level clinician, supervisor, professor, and clinical and currently executive director of five different practices​ and David Shapiro, M.A. founding President of PTSD Relief Now Corporation and Alliance for PTSD Recovery ( both 501C3’s) ​show how Transcendental Meditation is highly effective at reducing ​​depression.

Please visit: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/06/what-michael-phelps-the-rock-have-in-common-with-16-2-million-americans/


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Yes, There are Rapid, Side-effect Free Ways to Reduce Depression.

Written by Dr. Scott Terry and David Shapiro

For Michael Phelps, depression is both a problem that many athletes face and also a personal challenge. Despite being the world’s most decorated swimmer and the Olympian with the most medals of all time, with 28 Olympic medals (23 gold), he has faced depression over and over.

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In 2004 Phelps got his first DUI (arrest for Driving Under the Influence); in 2008 Phelps is photographed taking bong hit; and in 2014 Phelps received a second DUI. The days following his second DUI were the lowest point in his life. Phelps explained that he was on the brink of ending his life in those days between his arrest and court date. “I’m somebody who’s gone through at least three or four major depression spells after [Olympic] Games that, you know, I’ve put my life in danger,” he recounted.

He has asked the United States Olympic Committee ( USOC) to help athletes who suffer depression, but complains: “The USOC in my opinion hasn’t done anything to help us transition after an Olympics.”

Other top athletes, including fellow swimmers Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin have both spoken about their struggles.

Depression is a debilitating mental condition of overwhelming sadness and disinterest in activity. The victim may feel hopeless, tearfulness, lack of energy to engage in even the smallest tasks, worthlessness, anxiety, anger, restlessness, and have trouble focusing and may even have frequent thoughts of suicide.

Peter (name changed to protect the client), an emergency room doctor, is a patient of Dr. Scott Terry, clinical psychologist. Peter told his story:

“Prior to learning TM, I had struggled with depression off and on for several years. Sleep would frequently be difficult. That led to low energy level and lack of focus at work and at home. I took medication and saw a therapist, but during these bouts of depression I would still sometimes feel hopelessness and little desire to get up in the morning and go to work. At these times, I would feel especially tired. I thought I was doing well.”

If one has been in a traumatic event, depression often accompanies Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It can also be understood as one of the symptoms of PTSD.

Without support, each episode of depression may be a painful, prolonged and possibly life-threatening time.

An estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode (2 weeks or longer). This number represented 6.7% of all U.S. adults.

People from all walks of life struggle with depression. Actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson explained: “Struggle and pain is real,” he said of that dark time. “I was devastated and depressed.

“I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere,” he added. “I was crying constantly.”

The standard treatments are psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.

According to the National Network of Depression Centers (www.nndc.org/facts) Depression costs the U.S. $210 billion per year and is the leading cause of disability In the US among citizens 15-44. They also state that 2/3 of people with depression either do not seek help nor receive adequate help and that only 41% of adults in the US with mental health conditions receive help.

Psychopharmacology is commonly used, but may produce unwanted side effects. It is often ineffective in not only solving one’s original depression or in preventing the next depression. And with extended long-term use, the side effects may have devastating health effects.

Complementary medicine may make mental health care more accessible, without risk of severe side effects. It includes such approaches as taking herbs (e.g. St. John’s Wort, Valerian, or S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe)), improving sleep, diet, exercise and adding yogic postures, as well as effective, evidence-based meditation, among many possibilities.

One highly effective, evidence-based meditation is Transcendental Meditation (TM). Ten scientific studies show that TM produces systematic reduction in depression and even PTSD-related depression.

With TM (tm.org), practiced twice a day every day, the brain chemistry improves and EEG shows a regular rise in brain coherence. In addition, TM helps improve sleep. With improved rest from sleep, people tend to feel less impulsive and eat in a more balanced way. Because they feel more settled, they can plan for their future and implement daily exercise regimes. So TM acts as a basis for a life shift towards more inner balance and stability, away from causes of depression.

Our E.R. Doctor, Peter, continues his story: ‘Since starting TM, I have stopped medication and have never felt better. My mood has improved and stress has lowered as I have a great tool deal with it more effectively. TM has helped with my sleep and overall energy level. I feel better about myself leading to a more positive outlook on life.”

Dr. Scott Terry explains: “In my 25 years of practice as a doctoral level clinician, supervisor, professor, and clinical and currently executive director of five different practices, a large mental health organization and a radio show, I have found nothing more productive or viable than the utilization of TM in the therapeutic process. The first stage of healing is not understanding or feeling, but shifting the nervous system so that one could process the experiences and thoughts that one is having. If we think about a condition like persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) with its six symptoms, transcendental meditation is a perfect tool to address each of them.”

If a person has PTSD-based depression, they often get relief from PTSD and those symptoms fall away. Eighty percent of US Veterans with PTSD became free of PTSD symptoms in 30 days according to a January 2018 study by Dr. Robert Herron in Military Medicine. Eleven scientific evidence-based studies show similar results in many demographic groups with PTSD around the world, from US prisoners, to Congolese war refugees, to South African college students, to other US veteran groups.

Rigorous, peer reviewed, scientific studies show a 30-50% reduction in depression with TM in 3-4 months in a wide range of demographic groups… caregivers, government employees, war veterans, prisoner and others. In many cases the controls group showed much less or no significant improvement during this time.

TM can be used along with the standard treatments to accelerate the return to happy life, or may be used on its own.

If you or loved ones are suffering from depression or PTSD-based depression, you may wish to consider adopting an integrated, complementary approach to reduce both short and long-term depression with the support of a clinician. By making lifestyle changes such as these and by regularly practicing Transcendental Meditation you may begin to live life with fewer or no bouts of debilitating depression. Michael Phelps, Dwayne Johnson, and many other famous people, have called out for help. Here is effective strategy to help them and millions of other people around the world, to enjoy happiness, success and progress.

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About the authors:

Dr. Scott Terry, Ed.D., LCPC, LMFT, Ch.T., has 25 years of practice as a doctoral level clinician, supervisor, professor, and clinical and currently executive director of five different practices including the Ardent Center, a large mental health organization and a radio show.

David Shapiro, B.A. cum laude chemistry, M.A., is an author of two articles published in Journal of Traumatic Stress (April, 2013; February, 2014) on Transcendental Meditation and PTSD; the founding President of PTSD Relief Now and its African PTSD Relief projects and Alliance for PTSD Recovery; author of a third article, in submission, on rapid reductions in PTSD in South African college students; and an author of numerous popular articles on PTSD published throughout the world.

 

 


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Transcendental Meditation can reduce PTSD symptoms and use of medications

Christopher Bergland writes for Psychology Today, 13 January 2016:

“A new study reports that regular practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) enables some active duty service members battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to reduce, or even eliminate, their use of psychotropic medications (link is external) and to better control the often-debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

Transcendental Meditation is a specific type of focused meditation that takes practitioners from a state of noisy thinking to a state of inner quietness. Practicing TM reduces stress hormones by activating the “tend-and-befriend” or “rest-and-digest” functions of the parasympathetic nervous system (link is external), while calming the sympathetic nervous system (link is external), which stimulates the “fight-or-flight” response.

The January 2016 study, “Clinical Case Series: Treatment of PTSD With Transcendental Meditation in Active Duty Military Personnel (link is external),” was published in the journal Military Medicine.

This study included 74 active-duty service members with PTSD or anxiety disorder. Many of the participants had experienced multiple deployments in recent years and were seeking treatment for PTSD at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic (link is external) at Fort Gordon, Georgia.” ….

Read more on https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201601/meditation-reduces-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-symptoms