In a new randomized study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers suggest that mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy can lower post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity in veterans with PTSD.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction uses a combination of yoga, body awareness, and mindfulness meditation to help people reduce pain, and address conditions like depression and anxiety. The intervention teaches people to be in the present moment using acceptance and non-judgment. Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy also encourages the acceptance of feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
In the study, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System researchers’ randomly assigned 116 veterans with PTSD to either nine mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy sessions or a control group consisting of nine weekly sessions focusing on current life issues.
At the two-month follow-up, mindfulness-based stress reduction participants showed greater improvement in the self-reported severity of PTSD. There was a 49% improvement in the mindfulness-based stress reduction group when compared to a 28% difference with the control group.
According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health, PTSD affects approximately 7.7 million adults in the U.S. Studies suggest that 10% to 18% of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD upon returning from war. Also, veterans from Iraq have a greater likelihood to report mental health issues like PTSD than Afghanistan troops.
If PTSD is left untreated it can lead to poor quality of life, disability, and disorders such as substance abuse, anger issues, severe depression, and loneliness.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Polusny, M.A., et al., “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Veterans: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2015; 314(5): 456-465, doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.8361. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2422542
“Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy decreases PTSD symptom severity among veterans,” ScienceDaily web site, Aug. 4, 2015; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150804142744.htm.
“Mental health Effects of Serving in Afghanistan and Iraq,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs web site, http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/reintegration/overview-mental-health-effects.asp, last accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
“PTSD: A Growing Epidemic,” NIH Medline Plus; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/winter09pg10-14.html, last accessed Aug. 5, 2015.