Monk Meditation. Transcendental Meditation may soon be offered as an alternative to treating exposure to military patients suffering from PTSD. With medication, transcendental meditation has been proven to reduce the symptoms of the disorder. ( Sashin Pixby )
Transcendental Meditation can help soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, according to a study supported by the US Department of Defense.
During a clinical trial, researchers found that the effects of Transcendental Meditation are almost equal to the benefit of exposure therapy, which is preferred by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The study was published in the medical journal Lanceette.
The problem with exposure treatment
Exposure therapy is the most common psychological treatment in patients with PTSD. It involves a psychologist creating a safe environment where a person, in this case, a military veteran, to relive their fighting experiences to reduce their fear.
However, to some, exposure treatment can be too much. Many army veterans drop out of therapy or refuse to try it at all.
The researchers wanted to find an alternative option that would not involve coping with traumatic experiences. They found that transcendental meditation, with drugs, can be as effective as exposure therapy for patients engaged in PTSD.
Dealing with PTSD with meditation
The researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of 203 patients diagnosed with PTSD. Participants were divided into groups: Transcendental Meditation, exposure therapy, and educational classes. The trial took place over three months.
Approximately 61% of those assigned to Transcendental Meditation reported a significant improvement in their condition. However, only 42% of the exposure group said their condition improved after treatment.
On average, Transcendental Meditation reduced the symptoms of PTSD in patients by 14.6%, compared with 8.7% of the exposure participants.
"Because exposure to trauma can be difficult for patients, similar effective treatments that do not require exposure such as Transcendental Meditation can be attractive to veterans and other groups with PTSD," said Sanford Neditch of Maharishi University, who led the study.
About 10 to 20 percent of military veterans are diagnosed with PTSD and more than a third of them do not recover even after many years.
In addition to its psychological benefits, transcendental meditation can be done at home and at an additional zero price. However, Vernon Barnes, who is not involved in the study, warned that researchers should be demonstrated in larger experiments before it is widely applied.
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