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Writing Proves to Be Therapeutic for Post-Traumatic Stress

Update Date: Apr 04, 2013 05:59 PM EDT
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Think of your day to day tasks. Can you recall at least one day out of the week when you did not experience any stress at all? Stress is something that loves to sneak into our daily schedule, whether it is something small like getting the kids to school on time or something more significant like delivering a long awaited presentation-we all find ourselves a little stressed out once in a while.  

Unfortunately, some of us can't help but to let stress get the best of us after experiencing something traumatic like physical abuse or a serious accident. In fact, obstacles like these can often lead to post-traumatic stress (PTS), a disorder that affects 5.2 million people living in the United States every year. But there is hope, recent studies show writing can be therapeutic for those dealing with PTS.

In a study which included 633 participants, 304 were assigned writing therapy with the remainder of the participants placed on a controlled waiting list. Dutch researchers found that writing therapy "resulted in significant and substantial short-term reductions" of PTS and comorbid depression.

While the research displayed no efficacy between writing therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, writing therapy is an evidence-based and can be a useful treatment alternative for patients who do not respond to other evidence-based treatments.

PTS is often the result of violent attacks like war, rape, assault and kidnapping. However, those who have suffered child abuse, serious accidents, natural disasters and man-made disasters, like acts of terror, can also be victims of PTS.

Of the 1.9 percent of Americans who suffer from PTS, 30 percent of them are war veterans. Overall, women are twice as likely to suffer from PTS as men.

The research report Writing Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress: A Meta-Analysis was published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 

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