Effective Meditation for Treating Post-Traumatic Stress


Meditation can be as effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as current therapies, says a study of American soldiers treated for PTSD published in Lancet Psychiatry Friday.

Effective Meditation for Treating Post-Traumatic Stress

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs after a traumatic event in the context of death, death threats, serious injury or sexual assault.

It is characterized in particular by repetitive and invasive memories of the event, nightmares, avoidance of any element (location, situations) that recalls the trauma, states of irritability or depression.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is often found among bomb victims and soldiers (14% of American soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are victims).

Among current treatments, exposure therapy is often used. It involves getting the person with PTSD to gradually expose themselves to the situations, places, images, sensations, noises, smells, and memories associated with the traumatic event in order to "accustom" the body to stop responding. path to the elements remembering the trauma, and thus reduce avoidance.

But this technique is painful for PTSD victims and 30-45% of patients discontinue treatment, the study says.

Researchers at three American universities tested the practice of meditation with a study of 203 former US soldiers with PTSD.

The soldiers, men and women, were divided into three groups:

  • one practiced meditation;
  • The second exposure therapy;
  • The third had a theoretical course on post-traumatic stress.

60% of ex-soldiers who practiced 20 minutes of meditation per day had significantly improved their symptoms, and were more likely to complete the study than the group exposed to exposure therapy.

Meditation is to focus the mind on an object or idea to achieve a state of mindfulness, calm and peaceful.

"Meditation can be practiced alone, almost anywhere and anytime, without the need for specialized equipment or personalized support."Sanford Nidich, the lead author of the study, told AFP.

"Faced with the growing problem posed by post-traumatic stress in the United States, Britain and other parts of the world, alternative therapies such as meditation should be part of the options implemented by health authorities."he says.

Created on November 18, 2018


Meditation without focus on trauma versus exposure therapy in posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial – Sanford Nidich et al. – The Lancet Pyschiaty November 15, 2018 (available online)


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