Home | Privacy Policy | About Military Pathways

Fishing is More Than Just a Relaxing Pastime; It Can Help With PTSD Symptoms

Posted on March 30, 2012 by admin

Reserach shows fishing can provide stress relief for vets with PTSD

By Adrian Zupp


Fishing has a pretty good rep as a relaxing pastime, but it actually goes a lot further than that – and many vets are reaping the advantages.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general anxiety disorder (GAD) can be alleviated by taking up the rod and reel. And clinicians are taking serious notice.

The therapeutic effect derives from the fact that fishing brings together mental relaxation, low-impact exercise and, very often, social camaraderie. For this reason it is now often referred to as an anxiolytic (which is, technically, a drug that relieves anxiety).

In fact, there’s even a name for the phenomenon itself: piscatorial therapy (and, yep, that just means “related to fishing”). Meanwhile, articles are being written at a rate of knots. And let’s face it, from just a common knowledge perspective, fishing has always been associated with winding down and tuning out: perfect for vets with stress or anxiety issues.

And the scientific research, while ongoing, does indicate that fishing has benefits for mental health. For example, a 2009 study conducted by researchers from the University of Southern Maine, the University of Utah, and the Salt Lake City VA documented the significant improvement in perceptual stress, PTSD symptoms, and sleep quality for vets who took part in a two-day, three-night residential fly fishing retreat.

Take a look at these articles for more on the subject: “Disabled Veteran Takes On a Mission” and “Fly Fishing Therapy.”

And don’t forget, anyone can take advantage of our free, anonymous online screenings for depression, alcohol, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Adrian Zupp is the marketing and communications writer at Screening for Mental Health.