We typically think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a response to a horrible experience during military combat…While it’s true that, according to the National institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the risk remains highest among those in military service, any abnormal traumatic event can elicit symptoms. The disorder often affects people who have survived rape, natural disasters, physical abuse and severe accidents.
Symptoms of PTSD include relieving the traumatic event via flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening thoughts as well as avoiding reminders of the event, feeling guilty or emotionally numb, being easily startled, feeling tense, and having trouble sleeping. Treatment includes psychotherapy (talk therapy) as well as antidepressant medications.
Two other recently studied treatment approaches – Guided imagery and cognitive therapy – have been shown to help relieve PTSD symptoms and in some cases even cure the disorder. One study combined standard PTSD treatment with healing touch (gentle touch to restore the body’s energy balance) and guided imagery, which uses visualization by the patient.