Weighted Blankets as Non-medicinal Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Author: Crystal Johnson B.A. Political Science minor English Literature
When weighted blankets were first introduced they were used primarily for Sensory Processing Disorder. The deep pressure helps to stimulate the body and ease anxiety. They do this by simulating the feel of human touch, and through this process occupational therapists have come to the conclusion that this method can benefit those who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is a stress disorder that immediately follows a terrifying event. In many cases people associate PTSD with military veterans, but it can also linger with those who have survived a natural disaster or any kind of trauma. The National Institute of Mental Health says that the numbers of PTSD cases are growing as a result of trauma experience. It can range anywhere from emotional stress, fear, or to sleep disturbance due to nightmares. Symptoms can appear anywhere from days, to months, or years later.
Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder typically involves medications, group therapy, and different methods of relaxation; however, over the past few years there has been some serious research to help expand the methods to relieve PTSD, and now weighted blankets have become a possible solution. When the weighted blanket is draped over the body it helps the body feel comfortable and secure. The pressure has been found to deter unwanted thoughts, and relax muscle tension. It can also be compared to a deep massage because it can create moderate and consistent pressure to aid in the natural production of serotonin. Weighted blankets are bringing forth a new kind of therapy that seems to be working for patients with PTSD or trauma due to brain injury.
Ways to use a weighted blanket as alternative therapy for alleviating symptoms of PTSD:
– Relax under a weighted blanket while reading, watching TV or even during counseling sessions
– Sleep with a weighted blanket to help create a deeper, less restless sleep by having constant calming, moderate pressure applied to the body
– Fold a weighted blanket to apply deep pressure to your legs while sitting in an office, classroom or at the computer.
– Bring your weighted blanket with you to environments that are known triggers to PTSD symptoms so that you may sit under it to help build coping strategies and positive experiences in those situations.
This photo was provided with permission from Project 22 a documentary that is being filmed currently profiling the staggering number of veteran suicides specifically those suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Project 22 is riding motorcycles cross country to interview veterans and health care professionals, Hippo Hug sent a weighted blanket for them to use along the way as well as introduce this new therapy to the veterans they meet on the journey. Hippo Hug also sent a weighted animal to use with the children they meet along the way. We wish Project 22 a safe journey, please consider donating to their worthy project