Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional illness that develops as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening or otherwise highly unsafe experience. Common symptoms include a recurrent, re-experiencing of the trauma; avoidance tendencies; extremely sensitive reactions to normal day-to-day experiences; personality disorders; negative social and emotional development; multiple somatic problems; and a troubled sexual life. A pre-existing emotional disorder, lack of support from family and friends, young age, female sex and learning disabilities, are risk factors for developing PTSD after a traumatic event.
Psychotherapy, cognitive and behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, and medications constitute the management of PTSD. Ayurvedic medicines are used to treat fear, anxiety and stress. These include Brahmi-Vati, Saraswatarishta, Arjunarishta, Dashmoolarishta, Abhrak-Bhasma, Suvarna-Bhasma and Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani. Herbal medicines which can be used in this condition include Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Khurasani ova (Hyoscyamus niger), Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Medicines like Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Maha-Laxmi-Vilas-Ras and Makar-Dhwaj -Ras are used to reinforce the ‘Oj’ of the body.
Several Panchkarma procedures can be used judiciously to help people affected with PTSD. A daily massage of the entire body using medicines like Mahanarayan oil, Mahamash oil and Maha-Sahachar oil helps in inducing relaxation and getting good sleep. Procedures like ‘Shirodhara’ and ‘Shirobasti’ have a good sedating effect. Repeated courses of medicated enemas using Vishgarbha oil or Maha Sahachar oil help in controlling the ‘Vat’ dosha; thereby reducing irritability, anxiety and emotional outbursts. Medicated nasal drops using Vacha oil, Anu oil, Panchendriya-Vardhan oil and liquid extracts of Shigru (Moringa oleifera) or Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis) are effective in stimulating the mind and brain; thereby helping to cope up with life.
People affected with PTSD should adopt positive lifestyle practices like regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and following a busy, regular schedule. Relaxation techniques, yogic asanas and pranayam can also help considerably. At the same time, it is also important to avoid negative lifestyle practices like substances abuse, social isolation, over-work and self-destructive behaviors.