Friday, August 7, 2015

MINDFULNESS, VETERANS AND PTSD

Mindfulness therapy appears to help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study suggests. The report was published in the August 4, 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr Melissa Polusny [pictured right], a staff psychologist from the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, and colleagues randomly assigned 116 veterans with PTSD to nine sessions of either mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) therapy or present-centred group therapy, which focused on current life problems.

The researchers found that during treatment and in the two months following, MBSR therapy improved PTSD symptoms more than did present-centred group therapy. In fact, those who had MBSR experienced a 49 per cent reduction in PTSD symptoms, compared with a 28 per cent reduction in symptoms among those who had present-centred group therapy.


As patients’ mindfulness skills increased, they showed improvement in PTSD symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks of the traumatic event, and avoiding things that might remind them of the traumatic event. In addition, patients experienced improvements in irritability, depression, and quality of life.

‘We think that teaching people these mindfulness skills helps them to have a different relationship with their PTSD symptoms — a willingness to let thoughts be there without trying to push them away,’ says Dr Polusny.


Reference:
Polusny M A, et al. ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Veterans.’ JAMA. 2015;314(5):456-465.


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