What Activities are Good for Veterans with PTSD? Does Martial Arts Help as a Treatment?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that many associate with veterans returning from combat zones. However, its effects are not limited to just the military community. It is important to understand what PTSD is and how our veterans all can develop this very real mental condition. Today, Foxhole Veterans Charity Foundation would like to explore why veterans are particularly susceptible and how martial arts and its community might be exactly what our veterans need to help them cope and even overcome PTSD.

What Does PTSD Do to a Person?

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may arise after witnessing or experiencing traumatic events such as severe accidents, natural disasters, sexual assault, or combat-related situations. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts about the event, emotional numbness, irritability, and insomnia. Our veterans are exposed to a number of traumatic events simply by answering the call of service and duty. This is why many of our veterans need to be reached out to and given a loving and supporting hand.

Why is PTSD a Problem for Veterans?

Combat situations expose military personnel to traumatic experiences that many civilians might never encounter. These can include direct combat, physical harm, witnessing the loss of fellow soldiers, or handling severe injuries. A major number of veterans, upon their return, battle the shadows of these harrowing experiences, leading to PTSD. This condition is heightened by the following factors:
• Repeated Exposure: Multiple tours or deployments increase the risk.
• Survivor’s Guilt: Outliving fellow soldiers can lead to feelings of guilt.
• Moral Injury: Engaging in or witnessing acts against one’s moral compass can leave lasting scars.
• Reintegration Struggles: Transitioning from combat zones to civilian life can exacerbate feelings of isolation.

Martial Arts is a Powerful Treatment for PTSD

While traditional therapies and medications is a very necessary part of treatment for PTSD, there are additional approaches that veterans may want to seek out to help them with their PTSD. One approach that is often promising is martial arts. There are many aspects of martial arts that many of our veterans find appealing and helpful, such as:
• Physical Activity: Martial arts offer physical training, which releases endorphins. These chemicals can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, both commonly related to PTSD.
• Focus: The structured environment of martial arts provides a sense of purpose. It demands concentration and helps to redirect the mind from traumatic memories.
• Meditation: Many martial arts will have meditative practices, teaching individuals to be present. This can be a useful tool in managing flashbacks and intrusive memories.
• Empowerment: Learning self-defense techniques can reinstate a sense of control and empowerment, which is often lost in trauma.
• Community: Joining a martial arts class offers veterans a new community, a place where camaraderie is fostered, reducing feelings of isolation.
• Routine: A structured routine can be very therapeutic, offering stability and a sense of everything is normal.

Training Veterans Out of Victorious Gym in Troy, Michigan

PTSD is a challenge that many veterans face, yet hope and healing come in many forms. Martial arts can be one of them with their many benefits, It blends the physical, mental, and spiritual, creating a natural or holistic healing environment for veterans grappling with the shadows of their past. It is important to remember our veterans and provide a place for them. Foxhole Veterans Charity Foundation welcomes all of our country’s heroes to come and train.

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