PTSD and Chinese Medicine

September 1, 2016


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that is usually brought on by a dangerous or traumatic event. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) describes PTSD as having three main symptoms: (1) Re-Experiencing, where the patient relives the event through images, thoughts, perceptions, or even recurring dreams of the event; (2) Avoidance, where the patient maintains efforts to avoid thoughts, activities, places, or people related to the traumatic event; and (3) Hyper-Arousal, where the patient has difficulty falling/staying asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, and difficulty concentrating.



Nearly 8% of the US population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, with nearly 8 million adults having PTSD during a given year. In the military, PTSD is seen among the Veterans, with numbers affected by the what war/event they went through ranging from around 30% of veterans from the Vietnam war to 14% of veterans from the Operation Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom.



Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be an effective treatment for those suffering with PTSD. Through questioning and observation of the patient’s tongue and pulse, the treatments can be individualized depending on the patient’s specific symptoms and underlying constitutional health. Symptoms such as nightmares, sweating at various times of the day, digestive issues, muscle aches and joint pain, and changes in body temperature are clues for the practitioner that allow them to properly diagnose the main pattern in order to prescribe the best prescription of acupuncture points and herbs. The goal of the treatment is to re-balance the body and emotions in order to effectively treat they symptoms, while affecting the underlying constitution health of the person.




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