Mindfulness might help veterans with PTSD, study suggests

A new study shows how veterans with Post-Trauamtic Stress Disorder (PSTD) saw their symptoms decrease after one eight-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course. 

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

Veterans practiced MBCT, which combines cognitive therapy with a meditative approach using mindfulness and focuses on acceptance of thoughts and emotions.

While previous studies have shown stress reduction and mindfulness meditation can benefit those with a history of exposure to trauma, this is the first study to examine the effect of mindfulness-based psychotherapy for PTSD veterans in a PTSD clinic.

As Anthony King, lead author of the study, told The Pacific Standard, mindfulness helps veterans end the cycle of ruminating on traumatic memories by getting them to practice being in the present:

“Very often, depression can be about the past,” King explains, “ruminating over and over about losses or other terrible things that happened in the past. Anxiety, meanwhile, very often involves ruminating about terrible things that you’re afraid are going to happen in the future. But in the present, very often, there’s actually nothing terrible going on, and the act of recognizing that can be helpful.”

To learn more about the study, read the University of Michigan Health System post.