Breathing Exercises Can Help Treat Symptoms of PTSD

14 Sep 2014

The American military is currently struggling to deal with a post-traumatic stress disorder epidemic among veterans returning home from combat duty. Over the next few years, the costs related to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder are expected to rise exponentially. Several recent studies have explored alternative therapies to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that don't involve medication.

One such treatment is the use of breathing exercises to treat these symptoms. Researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center of the University Of Wisconsin-Madison believe that a yogic breathing exercise called sudarshan kriya yoga can help treat symptoms. This is an exercise in which the individual practices controlled breathing, with a direct impact on the autonomic nervous system.

The researchers found that veterans, who were put through the breathing training program, showed fewer symptoms or lower intensity symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder including reduced anxiety, and lower respiration rates. The researchers are planning on further expanding the research to treat more numbers of participants, and understand how the treatment can be expanded to benefit veterans.

According to one report released in 2012 by RAND Corporation, more than 20% of veterans who are returning home from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Currently, the standard prescribed methods of treatment for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are antidepressants, and other forms of therapy including psychotherapy.

However, not all of these treatments work for all veterans. Some individuals seem to respond very well to antidepressants, while others do not. There are mixed results from the current treatment options that are offered to veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and California veterans benefits lawyers believe that there is an urgent need to explore new therapies that show promise.