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Mindfulness therapy might help veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder
Date:4/17/2013

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Mindfulness exercises that include meditation, stretching, and acceptance of thoughts and emotions might help veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder find relief from their symptoms.

A new collaborative study from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System shows that veterans with PTSD who completed an 8-week mindfulness-based group treatment plan showed a significant reduction in symptoms as compared to patients who underwent treatment as normal.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT, combines the practice of cognitive therapy with the meditative approach of mindfulness that stresses an increased awareness of all thoughts and emotions.

Previous research has shown stress reduction classes that use mindfulness meditation have been beneficial to people with a history of trauma exposure -- including veterans, civilians with war-related trauma and adults with a history of childhood sexual abuse but the new study is the first to examine the effect of mindfulness-based psychotherapy for PTSD with veterans in a PTSD clinic.

The study was published online today in Depression and Anxiety.

"The results of our trial are encouraging for veterans trying to find help for PTSD," says Anthony P. King, Ph.D., the study's lead author and research assistant professor in the U-M Department of Psychiatry, who performed the study in collaboration with psychologists at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. "Mindfulness techniques seemed to lead to a reduction in symptoms and might be a potentially effective novel therapeutic approach to PTSD and trauma-related conditions."

Veterans in the mindfulness treatment groups participated in in-class exercises such as mindful eating, in which they focus on sensations associated with eating very slowly; "body scanning," an exercise where patients focus on physical sensations in individual parts of the bo
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Contact: Justin Harris
juaha@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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