New Avenues in the Holistic Treatment of PTSD – Exploring Trauma | Guest Post by Jane Sandwood

PTSD is a very complex condition that can be difficult to treat – as anyone diagnosed with PTSD will be well aware of. Like some mental health conditions, literature supports the fact that PTSD can only be properly treated with a detailed and well-considered mix of psychotherapies and pharmacotherapies. Getting this right can often be difficult, and it can be a trial-and-error process to control symptoms and find real change. Increasingly, looking down holistic avenues is something that those diagnosed with PTSD are taking in order to improve their own rate of recovery.

The role of psychedelics

Research is ongoing into the potential benefits that psychedelic substances could have in treating mental health conditions and conditions like PTSD. MDMA in particular has been highlighted as a potential way to treat many of the symptoms PTSD presents. The operation of MDMA, where the mind is opened and relaxed and made to feel comfortable with trusting, is perhaps a potent way to help those diagnosed with PTSD to approach their trauma and benefit the healing process. Indeed, CNBC has now highlighted a boom in clinical trials deploying micro-doses of MDMA to help the healing process. While discussion with physicians is, of course, important, the use of micro-doses of MDMA in a supportive and therapeutic environment could help to alleviate symptoms and to provide a beneficial backdrop to exploring past traumas.

Exploring trauma

This factor, of exploring trauma, can be traumatic in itself. However, the successful ‘unlocking’ of traumatic events, and dealing with them in a way that enables long-term healing, can be an important part of the recovery process. Exploring this trauma is enabled by MDMA, but that state-of-mind – where trust can built in a long-term way, and the root causes and symptoms of trauma and stress can be addressed. Researchers have highlighted the benefits of new-age meditation in this pursuit. A clear break from old-school meditation, which can exacerbate symptoms, is a gentler, mindfulness-led pursuit.

A degree of faith

PTSD is so transformative because it can completely change what those diagnosed see as real. It destroys trust and support networks, and forces reactive behavior to standard events in the world around. One thing that can make a positive impact is spirituality and faith. That doesn’t mean religion, which can, in some cases, worsen symptoms. It means taking a philosophical approach to life and learning, gently, to look at how the universe can be responsible for problems, and to accept when and when there is or isn’t control. Paired with holistic healing methods and the potential of psychedelics in long-term recovery, a degree of faith can really help to ease the healing process and provide perspective.

There is no clear answer to treating PTSD, but holistic and complementary therapies can have a meaningful impact. Even something as simple as meditation and the retention of faith shows that. In the long-term, psychedelics may provide a powerful way to create proper therapeutic environments and target the root of trauma.