Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Despite there being strong evidence of the benefits of exercise for individuals with a mental health condition, until recently, no studies had been conducted that related specifically to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lifetime prevalence of PTSD within the general population is estimated at between 5% and 10%, with occupation-specific rates among combat veterans and police officers around 17%. The condition is characterised by symptoms such as hyperarousal, re-experiencing and avoidance, with depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, and sleep disturbance being common comorbidities.

 The benefits

Exercise Physiologist and Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Dr Simon Rosenbaum led the first Australian randomised controlled trial relating to exercise and PTSD. In terms of the physical benefits of exercise, he says, “Exercise is the cornerstone of treating and preventing lifestyle-related diseases in the general population, and it absolutely should be in this population too.”

When describing the mental benefits, Rosenbaum explains that it goes a lot further than a reduction in levels of anxiety and symptoms of depression, there’s also a reward in terms of self-esteem. “When people have a mental health condition they are demotivated. Exercise can add structure and routine to someone’s day which they may not have otherwise had.” He adds that exercise can also reduce cravings for cigarettes and alcohol.

 Role of an exercise professional

While exercise physiologists and physiotherapists will be involved initially, they will generally refer on to exercise professionals who will then play a far more long-term role. When it comes to implementing an effective exercise program for individuals with PTSD, Rosenbaum says, “the ideal program is one that people are prepared to do and the one that we can motivate people to participate in”.

Click here to read the full article in the Spring eJournal POWERED.

About briandmahan

Following a catastrophic automobile accident several years ago, I began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was hit by one of two cars that were racing on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. And, although I walked away from the accident, I began to have several FULL-BLOWN panic attacks a day (I didn’t even know they were panic attacks; I just thought I was going crazy). But, after just a few sessions with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, my anxiety and panic attacks ceased and I haven't had one in 9 years. In fact, my life changed so dramatically and quickly, I decided to train in the same technique. Upon completing a three-year training program studying Somatic Experiencing, the work of Peter Levine, PhD., my self-obsessed passion for healing and personal transformation shifted. I've been blessed to be able to help and assist other survivors of unresolved past traumatic events, who suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression and Stress to feel safe, joyful and to take take control of their lives again. And, now, I consider that car wreck to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s my passion for the past 9 years to share my story, experience, and know-how with others, like you, who may simply have been trying to heal with the wrong approaches. (You can’t heal a toothache by getting a massage.) I am not a psychologist, a medical doctor or a spiritual healer. I am a trauma survivor. And I have come to understand that PTSD, anxiety, panic, stress and depression are physiological conditions more so than they are psychological disorders. I hold retreats, workshops and free seminars, focused on establishing a sense of safety and re-awakening embodiment through healing stress and trauma. I also offer one-on-one sessions both face-to-face for local clients and by Phone and SKYPE for clients nationwide and internationally.
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