Along with the over 5 million adults already diagnosed, thousands of veterans will continue to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as sleep disorders serious enough to need disability services. Disturbed sleep patterns, which affect 70 to 90% of veterans, both precipitate and perpetuate PTSD issues, so combating them is the first critical step for soldiers and their healthcare team.
Researchers have proven that dawn simulators like our SunRise Clock, and light therapy products like the BioBrite Visor can provide significant benefits to soldiers. Regulation of sleep and exposure to light can help veterans feel more energetic, less depressed, more well-rested and positive as they face their recovery journey. And of course it only makes common sense that veterans who have been exposed to the horrific sights and loud sounds of war would do better waking to a gentle sunrise from one of our clocks as opposed to an obnoxious loud alarm clock. Furthermore, given the ease of use, the inexpensive costs relative to drug treatments, bright light therapies are now considered viable alternatives or adjunct treatments for combat-related problems.
PTSD Treatment Program
Researchers at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System have developed a drug-free program for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The program, called the Mantram Repetition Program (MRP), complements other treatments and offers measurable reductions in PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, hyper-alertness and depression.
Silently repeating a self-selected word or phrase (i.e. a mantram) that is short and meaningful helps to focus and calm the body and mind. After repeating a mantram during non-stressful times for relaxation, it can then be repeated when having negative thoughts to help veterans get back to a positive frame of mind. Veterans can keep count of the number of sessions per day they repeat mantrams with a digital counter originally designed for swimmers to count laps in a pool. SportCount counters turn out to be perfect for this program. Unlike large wrist counters, they are small, discrete (no one needs to know you are repeating your mantram if you don’t want them to), feature one-handed operation, and are comfortable.
The MRP program is fairly straightforward:
• Pick a word or phrase that is meaningful. Examples are: “keep calm and carry on” , “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi), “I change my thoughts, I change my world” (Norman Vincent Peale),
”Shalom” meaning peace,”Rama” meaning eternal joy within (Gandhi),”Om Prema” meaning love
• When feeling overwhelmed or lost, repeat the mantram as much as necessary to calm down and be in control again;
• Use your SportCount to count each time per day you use this program to manage symptoms;
• Record your results daily, so you can review them with your health care professional.
Research has confirmed that more frequent use of the mantram results in more attention to the present moment and experiences (as opposed to being overwhelmed by traumatic memories, images, or thoughts of destructive behaviors). For vets and others with PTSD, intrusive emotions may emerge when driving in a car, shopping in a store, in bed asleep at night, or just about anywhere. Relief by repeating a mantram and keeping track using a counter is convenient, and easily available. SportCount counters are ideal for this program. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, or you think you may have PTSD, make sure you work with healthcare professionals.
There are several informative links about the Mantram program for PTSD;
Mantram’ technique benefits Veterans with PTSD, VA Research Currents, May 2013
Mindful Attention Increases and Mediates Psychological Outcomes Following Mantram Repetition Practice in