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Effective meditation for treating post-traumatic stress


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

Effective meditation for treating post-traumatic stress

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs after a traumatic event in a context of death, death threats, serious harm or sexual assault.

It is particularly characterized by repetitive and invasive memories of the event, nightmares, avoiding any element (place, situation) that reminds of trauma, irritability, or depression.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is often found amongst the victims of the bomb and soldiers (14% of US soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are victims).

Of the current treatments, exposure therapy is often used. It involves bringing the person with PTSD to gradually expose to the situations, places, images, sensations, noises, smells and memories associated with the traumatic event in order to "accustom" the body to no longer react to an intense trace of the elements that remind the trauma, to reduce the avoidance.

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

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

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

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

60% of former soldiers who practiced 20 minutes of meditation each day significantly improved their symptoms and were more likely to complete the study than the exposed exposure group.

Meditation aims to concentrate the mind on an object or an idea to reach a state of mindfulness, calm and peaceful.

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

"Faced with the growing problem of post-traumatic stress in the United States, the UK 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


Non-traumatic meditation focused on exposure therapy in post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled study – Sanford Nidich et al. – The Lancet Pyschiaty November 15, 2018 (available online)

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