July 19, 2013
Mindfulness interventions are safe, inexpensive and effective adjuncts to posttraumatic stress disorder treatment, according to Marina Khusid, MD, ND, MSA, who recently published an article on the subject in the July issue of Psychiatric Annals. The article is the last of a seven-part series on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of PTSD.
In her article, Khusid explores four types of mindfulness techniques that have the most supportive evidence for their use: mindfulness meditation, mantram repetition, yoga, and relaxation response training.
Although the evidence base is not robust enough to recommend either one as a first-line treatment for PTSD, these techniques can be integrated with more traditional, proven interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
According to Khusid, mindfulness encourages veterans to self-manage their care, shifting treatment responsibility from the clinician to the patient. Recent data suggest that self-help strategies have been effective in treating patients with PTSD and anxiety disorders.
Khusid said mindfulness encourages treatment compliance and helps alleviate symptoms associated with the disorder.
“Mindfulness-based interventions decrease avoidance behaviors and negative ruminative thought patterns, improve emotion regulation and impulse control, and encourage self-compassion and successful re-integration into civilian life,” she said.
Khusid mentioned that there are currently three times as many clinical trials of mindfulness interventions for PTSD registered with the federal government compared with 2010, indicating a growing interest in the field.
“Mindfulness-based approaches are acceptable in veterans and service members, safe, easy to learn, portable and cost-effective, with encouraging preliminary results in clinical and neuroimaging studies,” she said. “Engaging patients in a patient-centered collaborative care model through use of mindfulness approaches to self-manage their chronic mental illness may lead to increased levels of functioning, improved health outcomes, and decreased health care costs.”
Disclosure: Khusid reports no relevant financial disclosures.
extra: Meditation helps dealing with PTSD for African refugees.