Through Meditation, Veterans Relearn Compassion

The epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder has pushed the VA to explore new and sometimes unorthodox treatments…


Despite how common this is, there are no easy answers for how to treat PTSD. Talk therapies can work, but they take a long time and not all vets stick with them.


Antidepressants, like Prozac, have been disappointing. In 2007, a VA study found that no drug should be considered effective for PTSD in vets, but today, they’re still widely prescribed, and a lot of vets do find them useful.


The idea here is that in combat, the way to stay safe is to think of everyone as a potential threat. Fear and distrust are default. But with PTSD, it stays that way, even after combat is over. The soldier with PTSD has lost the ability to relate to people as just people. Compassion meditation is about getting that ability back, learning to see oneself in others.


By Amy Standen