Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may help alleviate PTSD symptoms, suggests study

Experiencing sudden flashbacks and hearing unexpected noises might seem scary and dreadful. Ever wondered how difficult it can be for someone who experiences such conditions on a regular basis? Undoubtedly, it can become difficult to deal with and might even force the person to become a recluse.

Nightmares, flashbacks, and frightening thoughts are some symptoms that are experienced by people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A form of anxiety disorder, it generally develops in an individual who has experienced a severe trauma or a life-threatening event causing intense fear, helplessness, or horrors, such as war, accident or any other emergency situation.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 7.7 million Americans age 18 and older have PTSD.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, post-traumatic stress in children and teens develops when he/she has experienced a trauma. Of the total number of children who experience a trauma, approximately 3 to 15 percent of girls and 1 to 6 percent of boys develop PTSD later in life.

Seeing such a prevalence of PTSD in children, teens and adults, the National Center for PTSD designated June as the PTSD Awareness Month. It aims to raise public awareness about PTSD, its symptoms and effective remedies available for its treatment.

Recovery from PTSD

There are numerous traditional ways that can help treat PTSD effectively in individuals, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), play therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and others.

In addition to the traditional studies, some unconventional methods are also coming up for treating PTSD. Following the unorthodox path, Professor Alison Willing from the University of South Florida conducted a research to study the effects of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and traditional exercise on veterans suffering from PTSD.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial art that teaches an individual self-defense. It involves making use of proper techniques and one’s own self to defend themselves in dangerous situations.

The aim of the study is to create an effective method that can help treat the symptoms of PTSD since the traditional ways to treat the condition are both costly and time-consuming. Instead of attempting to cure the condition, the study has been designed to assuage the symptoms of PTSD.

Willing was inspired to study this aspect of martial arts when the veterans training at a local gym revealed that such a practice helped alleviate their PTSD symptoms. Although the study’s preliminary trials began at the local gym and were thereafter brought to the attention of the University researchers, Willing along with other researchers, scaled up the experiment by adding regular “endurance/cardiovascular fitness” to it.

PTSD effects on teens

PTSD can afflict teens who have been victims such as of sexual or physical abuse or have been badly hurt by someone. Natural disasters, such as floods and fires can also trigger PTSD.

Often teens can find it difficult to cope with the trauma associated with such situations on their own. They may end up fearing the world, it could impact their thought-processes, deeply encoding the memory of the event in their brains. Some of the other ways in which PTSD affects a teen are:

  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Conduct disorder (CD)
  • Risk of self-harm
  • Increased chances of cardiovascular disease
  • Pain and anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Diagnosing PTSD in teens

It is not essential that every individual who has had faced a traumatic event will develop PTSD. However, when these affect an individual, it can lead to the development of a number of PTSD symptoms in teens.

Usually affecting a person within three months of experiencing a traumatic incident, the symptoms of PTSD can sometimes develop even a year later. Although difficult to diagnose, some of the common symptoms seen in teens are:

  • Flashbacks and bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Feeling upset after recalling incident-related memories
  • Emotional detachment
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Irritability
  • Anger outbursts
  • Inability to sleep soundly
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Disruptive or destructive behaviors

Treating PTSD

PTSD affects every individual differently. Therefore, treatment varies from person to person. If there are signs of PTSD in teens, it is important to seek immediate help from a mental health expert. Teenagers can also opt for some self-help strategies, such as calming down exercises by slowing down breathing, relaxing muscles to calm down anxiety, talking to parents, keeping oneself engaged, etc.

It is important to treat signs of PTSD in children immediately, as delaying the same might have negative effects on his or her cognitive ability, sports performance, etc. If you know a teenager who is looking for the best center offering treatment for PTSD symptoms in teens, White River Academy can help.

The therapeutic boarding school in Utah is available with world-class facilities to help teenage boys avail the best post-traumatic stress treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our medical experts to seek more information about the best therapeutic residential schools in the U.S. offering treatment for PTSD in teens.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top