August 13, 2007
We’re doing this now because it’s clear that when students start to gear up for returning to campus, they may have a return of symptoms - some anxiety, panic or acute stress. Some will start to feel these reactions for the first time when they get back on campus. So we’d like to have something in place, so they can develop some critically important self-regulation skills in advance, and be that much ahead of the game.
Similar to the page we put up after Katrina, this new VT page explains the quirky nature of posttraumatic stress and why methods like imagery, meditation and breathwork are such ideal tools for most people. And we now have downloads available, not just the streamed imagery we had on the Katrina page. So we’ve made available 5 critical guided imagery podcasts for VT:
- Healthful Sleep
- Relaxation & Wellness
- Easing Grief
- Help with Panic attacks
- Healing Trauma
In order for them to access these freebies, they’ll need to use their Virginia Tech email addresses. The software recognizes "vt.edu", and lets them proceed.
And speaking of healing trauma, this week Duke/Durham V.A. researcher Jennifer Strauss just presented her very exciting, hot-off-the-press, early findings from the first 20 subjects in her controlled pilot study, comparing the effects of guided imagery vs. music on PTSD symptoms of traumatized women veterans. They suffered from severe, longstanding, complex PTSD, mostly dating from the Vietnam War. It started out including only military sexual trauma, but now it’s women with all forms of PTSD. She spoke at the Army’s 10th Annual Force Health Protection Conference in Louisville, KY.
So far, the findings are flat-out fantastic, showing dramatic and statistically significant differences in symptom reduction as measured by the CAPS (clinician administered PTSD Scale)
and the PCL (PTSD checklist), two gold-standard measures for judging PTSD severity.
This is so early that Dr. Strauss still hasn’t had a chance to examine differences in symptom clusters (there were some pretty dazzling findings on this score in the feasibility study, that I’m hoping will be replicated); and there won’t be analysis of neurosteroid markers or functional MRI findings until the end of the study - that should be pretty interesting as well.
This points to the very positive likelihood that we can realistically help people with severe, longstanding PTSD with a very inexpensive intervention that is easily deliverable to most vets, through downloads and CDs. And if this works to help people with PTSD that’s 40 years old, it should be even more effective with our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, stay tuned. This is something to actually feel optimistic about.