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Effective meditation to treat post-traumatic stress

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

Effective meditation to treat post-traumatic stress

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

This is specifically characterized by recurrent and invasive memories of events, nightmares, avoidance of each element (place, situation) given trauma, irritability or depression.

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

Among current treatments, exposure therapy is often used. This involves bringing people with PTSD to gradually expose themselves to situations, places, images, sensations, sounds, smells and memories associated with traumatic events, to "get used to" the body to stop reacting. intense way to elements that remind trauma, and thus reduce avoidance.

But this technique is very painful for victims of PTSD and 30-45% of patients stop using treatment, the study said.

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

Soldiers, men and women, are divided into three groups:

  • someone practices meditation;
  • Second exposure therapy;
  • The third has a theoretical course on post-traumatic stress.

60% of former soldiers who practice 20 minutes of meditation every day have significantly improved their symptoms, and are more likely to complete the study than those exposed to exposure therapy.

Meditation is about focusing the mind on objects or ideas to achieve a state of attention, calm and peace.

"Meditation can be done alone, almost anywhere and at any time, without the need for special equipment or personal support", AFP told Sanford Nidich, the study's lead author.

"Faced with the growing problem posed by post-traumatic stress in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world, alternative therapies such as meditation must be part of the options implemented by health authorities."he said.

Created on November 18, 2018


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

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