Meditation could help veterans suffering from PTSD, Minneapolis VA finds

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Meditation techniques may be able to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who haven't found success to current treatment methods, a study at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center found.

About 23 percent of veterans who return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD, and for some, the symptoms of PTSD can linger, interfering with the way they function in everyday life.

There are proven treatments for PTSD, but as many as 60 percent of veterans never begin the treatments or drop out of them.

But this new research, which was co-authored by Minneapolis VA psychologist Melissa Polusny and published Tuesday by the Journal of American Medicine Association, could help change that.

The study, which assessed symptoms of 116 veterans with PTSD at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, found that "mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy" reduced the severity of PTSD symptoms more rapidly than standard group counseling did.

Roughly half (49 percent) of the veterans undergoing mindfulness training showed reductions in their symptoms in the two-month follow-up to the treatment, while only 28 percent of the comparison group did.

It's not quite clear as to how this research will affect the way PTSD is treated around the country, with Polusny noting follow-up research, including testing the therapy against proven forms of treatment, is needed, the Star Tribune says.

However, this study could help build a body of research to help improve the lives of veterans suffering from PTSD, MPR News notes.

Polusny and others who worked on the study are in Washington, D.C. to brief federal VA leaders on the results and discuss how their research could be used in clinical care and further research, the Star Tribune says.

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