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Jiu Jitsu vs. PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury. (1)

It affects multiple biological systems, such as brain circuitry and neurochemistry, and cellular, immune, endocrine and metabolic function. (Yehuda, 2015) 

According to Lancaster (2016) Symptoms are grouped into different categories and may include:
1.   Re-experiencing symptoms (e.g., recurrent intrusive memories, traumatic nightmares, and flashbacks); 
2.    Avoidance symptoms (e.g., avoiding trauma-related thoughts and feelings and/or objects, people, or places associated with the trauma); 
3.    Negative changes in cognitions and mood (e.g., distorted beliefs about oneself or the world, persistent shame or guilt, emotional numbing, feelings of alienation, inability to recall key details of the trauma); and

4.    Alterations in arousal or reactivity symptoms (e.g., irritability, hypervigilance, reckless behavior, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating).

Both pharmacological and psychological interventions have been shown to significantly reduce PTSD symptoms. Based on Lancaster (2016) the most important concern with the sole use of pharmacotherapy for PTSD treatment is the evidence that discontinuing treatment can be associated with relapse. Furthermore, although relapse is relatively infrequent after one response to evidence-based psychotherapy, a proportion of patients either drop out of therapy prematurely or do not respond to therapy.  

So what other strategies could help someone suffering from PTSD?

The answer is of course Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but wait, how would Jiu-Jitsu play a role?
Probably is not the first time that you will hear that Jiu-Jitsu is not only a Martial Art style or only a sport, it is a lifestyle. BJJ brings people together and gives us a sense of belonging. Can teach its players life lessons just like if it was LIFE’S MOCK-UP. Meaning that it allows you to restart and try again as many times as you want and also once the lesson is learned, apply that knowledge into the real world.
Take a look at what Nick Rahn, Founder and President of Warriors Next Adventure (a Non-Profit Organization dedicated to helping veterans) said:

“Jiu-Jitsu teaches you to be in the moment. You cannot think about the war, people lost, or any other life’s problems when you have a 200 lb guy on your back trying to choke you out. In the military, we are taught that everything is life or death. When you train Jiu-Jitsu you are taught that it is ok to fail and to learn from your failures and improve. It has taught me that there is a solution to every problem and sometimes that solution is to tap and you ask your instructor for help. That is a metaphor for when life gets tough and you can’t take it, you can tap and get some help.”
Beautiful and trustworthy words from someone that speaks with authority, right? His organization has helped many veterans so far benefiting not only students but also their families.
Another example that Jiu-Jitsu can be a tool for those in struggle is the REORG. REORG Charity supports those who help Military, Emergency Services & Veterans using Jiu-Jitsu, it’s a lifestyle, and community to help improve physical and psychological well-being (check the video below).

Additionally, Willing (2019) by enrolling 9 male US active duty service members and veterans, from 22 to 60 years of age, in a completed full 5-month (40 sessions) BJJ training program demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in their PTSD symptoms as well as decreased symptoms of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety and decreased alcohol use.

And that is not everything. I quickly research will lead you to many feedbacks on how Jiu-Jitsu could help people. Click Here

Finally, Knots Jiu-Jitsu has also some awesome feedback from students that were diagnosed with PTSD and is here to help with anything that our community needs.

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