Meditation can be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the current treatment, according to a study of American soldiers treated with PTSD published in Lancet Psychiatry Friday.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs after a traumatic event in the context of death, death threats, serious injury, or sexual assault.
It is especially characterized by recurring memories of the event, nightmares, avoidance of any element (place, situations) recalled trauma, situations of nervousness or depression.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is often found among victims of casualties and soldiers (14% of American soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are victims).
Among existing treatments, exposure therapy is often used. It involves bringing the person with PTSD to gradually expose themselves to the situations, places, images, sensations, sensations, sounds and memories associated with a traumatic event, in order to "accustom" the body to stop responding to intense elements that resemble the trauma, thereby reducing avoidance.
But this technique is painful for PTSD victims and 30 to 45 percent of patients fall out of treatment, the study says.
Researchers at three US universities tested meditation practice with a study of 203 former American soldiers with PTSD.
The soldiers, men and women, were divided into three groups:
- One of them practiced meditation;
- The second exposure treatment;
- The third was a theoretical course on post-traumatic stress.
60% of former soldiers who exercised 20 minutes of meditation each day significantly improved their symptoms, and were at greater risk of completing the study than the exposure group.
Meditation is about focusing the mind on an object or idea to reach a state of attention, calm and peaceful.
"Meditation can be cultured alone, almost anywhere and at any time, without the need for special equipment or personal support"Said AFP Sanford Nidich, lead author of the study.
"Faced with the growing problem of post-traumatic stress in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere in the world, alternative therapies such as meditation must be part of the options implemented by the health authorities."He says.
Created on 18 November 2018
Non-Trauma Meditation vs. Exposure Therapy in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Randomized Controlled Study – Sanford Nidich et al. – Lancet Pyschiaty November 15, 2018 (available online)