June is Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS*) Awareness Month. In its honor, we ask you to join us in working to increase public awareness of PTS and associated treatments, in order to ensure that as many people as possible have access to them.
Post-traumatic stress is a “common, normal, and often adaptive response to experiencing a traumatic or stressful event.” It can be caused by a wide variety of events and experiences, with some of the most frequent being: witnessing someone being badly hurt or killed, being involved in a fire, flood or natural disaster, being involved in a life-threatening accident, combat exposure, and more.
PTS often has long term effects, though symptoms vary greatly for those individuals affected. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common symptoms of PTS are intrusive memories, depression and anxiety, irritability, anger, and insomnia. In some cases, these effects can lead to unemployment, addiction, interpersonal issues, and more.
For a variety of reasons, veterans are disproportionately affected by PTS, though it is difficult to report on statistical prevalence across all current and former members of the military. We do have access to statistics about certain subsets of the military; for example, nearly 31% of Vietnam vets have been diagnosed. That said, these numbers may not be accurate, as a result of the stigma that former and current soldiers may feel around seeking treatment for PTS-related symptoms.
Over the years, many medical professionals and veterans have determined that treatments aren’t always enough to manage symptoms. Fortunately, for those struggling with PTS, yoga can help. How? Researchers from the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs “have found that yoga’s stretching, breathing techniques and meditation can help calm the part of the brain that the stresses of war kicks into a state of hyper-arousal.”
That’s why Kula for Karma offers a program geared specifically toward veterans. In an evidence-based approach, Kula for Karma offers therapeutic yoga to relieve depression, build greater resilience to stress, decrease cortisol levels and blood pressure, and improve sleep and overall quality of life. Learn more about the program here, and check out our Yoga for Veterans video series here. Feel free to share with anyone you think might benefit from it!
This month (and beyond!), join us in helping to spread the word about PTS, its symptoms, and how it can be treated by sharing this post or the video series.
If you’re interested in supporting the expansion of Kula’s programming for veterans, you can do so by donating here. Thank you, as always, for your incredible support.
* For many years, this was referred to primarily as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Starting in 2011, however, senior Pentagon officials opted to change the military nomenclature to remove the word “disorder,” stating that the word perpetuates a stigma that is detrimental to those experiencing it. At Kula for Karma, we agree, and have therefore decided to adopt the term PTS as well.