Hello Calgary Acupuncture Enthusiasts!
Have you or someone you know suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Did you know that you can develop PTSD from experiences other than warfare? Other types of incidents that commonly cause PTSD are things like natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, violence, abuse, or even simply witnessing any of these has been known to cause PTSD in some individuals.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website, PTSD is:
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness. It involves exposure to trauma involving death or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence.
PTSD causes intrusive symptoms such as re-experiencing the traumatic event. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that seem to come from nowhere. They often avoid things that remind them of the event—for example, someone who was hurt in a car crash might avoid driving.
PTSD can make people feel very nervous or ‘on edge’ all the time. Many feel startled very easily, have a hard time concentrating, feel irritable, or have problems sleeping well. They may often feel like something terrible is about to happen, even when they are safe. Some people feel very numb and detached. They may feel like things around them aren’t real, feel disconnected from their body or thoughts, or have a hard time feeling emotions.
People also experience a change in their thoughts and mood related to the traumatic event. For some people, alcohol or drugs can be a way to cope with PTSD.”
Did you know that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are used as part of successful PTSD treatments?
In a study conducted on earthquake survivors, researchers found that scalp electric acupuncture was more effective at treating anxiety and depression associated with PTSD than the SSRI drug paroxetine hydrochloride.1
When I did my TCM internship in China, I was stationed at a TCM hospital in MianYang, one of the areas that had been devastated in the 2008 earthquake. While in the neurological department we met a few of the recovered cases (it had been 2 years since the earthquake) and they shared their stories with us. It was one of my first experiences with just how much acupuncture can impact someone’s life. One of the women had told us that even after several months had passed since the earthquake she was barely able to sleep, could not leave the house and every noise she heard would send her into a panic. She started to see one of the doctors we were following and within a few weeks was able to sleep through the night and leave the house with only mild anxiety. When we met her two years later she no longer had any anxiety and was seeing the doctor for a different problem, in her words “acupuncture saved my life”.
After the Calgary flood of 2013 Michelle Beaubier was one of the acupuncturists in Calgary to set up and volunteer time and treatments for those affected by the flood. Using the NADA auricular protocol also used in the military, herself and other Calgary acupuncturists treated hundreds of patients for PTSD, stress and anxiety post flood.
Though acupuncture may not be the only type of therapy needed for the successful treatment of PTSD, it definitely plays a large part in helping the person return to a normal life and mitigate the effects of stress on their health.
So if you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, give acupuncture a try and see how it can work for you.
- ZHANG Hong1,YUAN Cai-feng,RAN Lian-hui,YUAN Qian,YUAN Xiu-li,HU You-ping,YIN Zhong,QIN Xiao-rong,YANG Jie. RCT research of different acupuncture therapies in treating Posttraumatic stress disorder after Wenchuan‘5.12’earthquake. China Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy. 2010-09