I feel so fortunate to have attended a seminar by Naji Malik at the British Acupuncture Council Conference. His own experience of civil war alongside 34 years of practicing clinical acupuncture has enabled him to successfully treat those in service, veterans and civilians that have been unable to move forward after witnessing or experiencing traumatic life events. The way in which he shared his knowledge of how acupuncture may help with the symptoms and internal trauma was so moving that I felt inspired and compelled to raise awareness of its potential benefit.
Whether it is diagnosed or suspected is not important. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop in people after they have experienced or witnessed an event that they found shocking, distressing or disturbing. It can affect anyone from the young to the elderly irrespective of their career and symptoms can start immediately, sometime after the event or be triggered by something completely unrelated.
Symptoms and their severity can vary greatly, but generally impact on everyday life and relationships. They include;
- feeling numb and empty
- feeling isolated
- suicidal feelings
- self-destructive tendencies
- problems at work
- problems in relationships
- avoiding people and places
- anxiety and/or panic attacks
- mood swings or depression
- being easily moved to tears
- frequent withdrawal
- nightmares and/or flashbacks
- anger and aggression
- feeling distrustful and suspicious
- blaming others
- misusing drugs, alcohol and/or food
- seeking out high-risk, dangerous pursuits
There is no limit to how long these feelings will last and they will often disappear in a relatively short space of time. However, for those people whose symptoms continue, get worse or are easily triggered, a diagnosis of PTSD may be given.
The conventional treatments recommended for PTSD are medications, talking therapies or both. It is important to remember that it may take several types of treatment before improvements are seen.
Naji has found that acupuncture has been very successful in helping to facilitate improvements to both the physical and emotional symptoms of PTSD. As acupuncturists, we treat the whole person rather than the name of the disease. This means that relief can be experienced for many physical and emotional difficulties. Although we collate information including the symptoms you have, there is no need for you to talk about what you have seen or experienced for the acupuncture to be effective. More information on how acupuncture can help based on research can be found via The British Acupuncture Council website.
So if you have PTSD, or want to help someone whose life is affected, please share this information and consider acupuncture.
If you would like more information about Naji and the people he has treated please visit his charity website that was created to support veterans of the armed forces www.standeasy.org.uk. Here you can view testimonials and video clips of those that have been helped.