Many people today are familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of veterans returning from war and the research that has been undertaken on the consequences of witnessing the horrors of war. Unfortunately, a similar horror occurs on our highways in Alberta with the carnage from motor vehicle accidents. This is compounded by the fact that very often loved ones are traveling in the same motor vehicle and witness terrible bodily injuries or death of their loved
ones, resulting in the survivors having PTSD.
The courts in Alberta have recognized PTSD and indeed our firm took a case in McLaren vs. McLaren Estate 2011 ABCA 299 (CanLII) 2011-10-20 to the Court of Appeal where the Calgary Court of Appeal awarded over $600,000.00 in damages plus doubles costs against the insurance company for failing to accept a reasonable offer made early on in the proceedings.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment
However, the question remains, what can these unfortunate survivors do with respect to treatment of PTSD? New research out of the Harvard Medical School indicates that yoga may be a helpful adjunct to other therapy in addition to counselling. There is evidence to suggest that yoga can tone down maladaptive nervous system arousal. For example one randomized controlled study examined the effects of yoga and a breathing program in disabled Australian Vietnam veterans diagnosed with severe PTSD, although the implementation of the yoga was very short and only included a five day course that lasted six weeks.
Six weeks after the study began the yoga and breathing group had dropped their PTSD scale scores from averages of 57 (which is considered moderate to severe symptoms) to 42 (which is considered mild to moderate symptoms). The control group, consisting of Veterans on a waiting list, showed no improvement.
Americans have been heavily involved in war with Iraq and Afghanistan and about 20% of war veterans returning now suffer from PTSD according to one estimate. There is growing consensus among experts that treating this population using yoga can be a useful addition to the treatment program.
Unfortunately veterans view psychotherapy as stigmatizing, therefore researchers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington, D.C. are offering a yogic method of deep relaxation to veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Benefits of Yoga for PTSD
Yoga has been around for literally thousands of years and it is only now that medical science is beginning to understand why it seems so beneficial in so many aspects of life, from disease such as PTSD, pain management such as chronic pain conditions, and sleep.
Further research out of the University of Oregon found that yoga meditation techniques can actually result in documented brain changes that may be protective against mental illness. Meditation practice involving yoga showed increased signalling connections in the brain which medically is called axonal density, as well as increased protective tissue (medically called myelin) around the axons in the area medically known as the anterior cingulate brain region.
If you have suffered PTSD in a motor vehicle accident contact an injury lawyer experienced with the latest medical research in this rapidly changing area of law and medicine.