PTSD & Flotation Therapy
What is PTSD
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a tragic and sometimes debilitating disorder that can develop after an individual survives a trauma. It is an all too common condition for many military, first responders, health care professionals and victims of domestic and sexual assault. Feeling fear and panic during a dangerous situation is normal (essentially, that is our fight-or-flight response), but PTSD develops when those agitated feelings and symptoms linger long after the trauma has passed. It can last for many years and even throughout the rest of someone’s life.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating and prohibit the ability to lead a full and healthy life. Symptoms include reliving the trauma during waking hours (accompanied by physical affect like sweating or a pounding heart), experiencing vivid nightmares, and having trouble sleeping. Those who suffer from PTSD can be constantly tense and on edge, while others become emotionally numb and can lose interest in the hobbies, passions and even those closest to them which can often lead to a greater level of stress in their life.
Who Suffers From PTSD?
The National Center for PTSD estimates that while nearly half of all Americans experience trauma at some point in their lives, only 7 to 8 percent of the population will have PTSD. The more extreme the trauma experienced– the higher the likelihood that PTSD may develop. While combat veterans are perhaps the most well-known segment of the population that experiences PTSD, the disorder can also occur when an individual survives a disaster, car accident, physical or sexual assault, or even witnesses a family member or loved one experience danger, harm, or death.
Military veterans, especially those who served in combat situations, are much more likely than the general population to suffer from PTSD. Estimates from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that between 11 to 20 percent of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have PTSD in a given year, while approximately 12% of Gulf War veterans experience PTSD in a given year. Studies of Vietnam veterans suggest that approximately 30% of these veterans have experienced PTSD in their lifetime.
It is expected that many healthcare professionals and others dealing with the current COVID-19 situation will suffer from PTSD as well. As their experiences will closely mirror those commonly associated with combat and the life and death decisions and struggles that result.
How Floating Can Help PTSD
Living with PTSD is not easy, but treatment options are available—and as a complement to traditional methods of treatment such as cognitive and exposure therapy, spending time in a float tank can provide immense relief from the symptoms of PTSD.