Improve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms In Veterans With Body Scan or Breath Following Meditation.

Improve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms In Veterans With Body Scan or Breath Following Meditation.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Practicing mindfulness can help you to be more focused and aware of the present moment while also being more willing to experience the difficult emotions that sometimes come up after trauma.” – National Center for PTSD

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But, only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life. For military personnel, it’s much more likely for PTSD to develop with about 11%-20% of those who have served in a war zone developing PTSD.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective. The Mindfulness-based Stress reduction (MBSR) program has been found to improve the symptoms of PTSD. But MBSR training contains meditation, body scan, and yoga. It is not known which these components of mindfulness training are effective and which are not.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Body Scan and Mindful Breathing Among Veterans with PTSD: Type of Intervention Moderates the Relationship Between Changes in Mindfulness and Post-treatment Depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7451147/) Colgan and colleagues recruited military veterans who were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups, body scan meditation, mindful breathing meditation, slow breathing and sitting quietly. Training was the same for all conditions with weekly 60-minute group meetings for 6 weeks along with home practice. Each condition was practiced for 20 minutes at a time. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, including observing, describing, acting with awareness, nonjudgmental acceptance, and nonreactivity to inner experience facets, depression, and PTSD symptoms including re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal.

 

They found that the two mindfulness groups, body scan meditation and mindful breathing meditation produced significant increases in mindfulness and significant decreases in depression and PTSD symptoms while the non-mindfulness groups, slow breathing and sitting quietly, did not. Within the mindfulness groups the greater the levels of the mindfulness facet of acting with awareness the lower the depression scores. The greater the increases in nonreactivity the greater the decreases in depression for the body scan meditation group but not the mindful breathing meditation group. In contrast, the greater the increases in acting with awareness the greater the decreases in depression for the mindful breathing meditation group but not the body scan meditation group.

 

These are interesting results that replicate the prior findings that mindfulness training improves depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The results further demonstrate the two different mindfulness trainings, body scan meditation, and mindful breathing meditation are effective in improving depression and PTSD symptoms. Mindfulness training programs also contain slowing of breathing and quiet sitting. These components do not involve training in mindfulness itself but rather are necessary for the mindfulness training. The present results demonstrate that these components are not effective, demonstrating that it’s only the active mindfulness training components that are effective.

 

The results also suggest that body scan meditation and mindful breathing meditation effect depression and PTSD symptoms in different ways. Body scan meditation appears to have its effects on depression through increasing nonreactivity to inner experience. This suggests that this training improves the ability recognize inner experience as simply experiences and thereby not reacting to them. On the other hand, mindful breathing meditation appears to work by increasing acting with awareness. This suggests that this training improves depression by making the individual more aware of their actions.

 

Having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very difficult to deal with and can lead to very serious consequences such as suicide. It’s wonderful to have a safe and effective treatment, mindfulness, to lessen the torment of PTSD. The present study helps in further defining what components of mindfulness training work. This can lead to an even more effective treatment plan.

 

So, improve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in veterans with body scan or breath following meditation

 

Military veterans experienced improvements in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) treatment.” – Emily Pond

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Colgan, D. D., Christopher, M., Michael, P., & Wahbeh, H. (2016). The Body Scan and Mindful Breathing Among Veterans with PTSD: Type of Intervention Moderates the Relationship Between Changes in Mindfulness and Post-treatment Depression. Mindfulness, 7(2), 372–383. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0453-0

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a promising intervention for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression; however, a more detailed examination of the different elements of MBSR and various facets of mindfulness to determine what works best for whom is warranted. One hundred and two veterans with PTSD were randomly assigned to one of four arms: (a) body scan (BS; n= 27), (b) mindful breathing (MB; n=25), (c) slow breathing (SB; n=25), or (d) sitting quietly (SQ; n=25). The purpose of this study was to (a) examine two separate components of MBSR (i.e., body scan and mindful breathing) among veterans with PTSD when compared to a nonmindfulness intervention (SB) and a control group (SQ), (b) assess if changes in specific mindfulness facets were predictive of post-treatment PTSD and depression for individuals who participated in a mindfulness intervention (BS vs. MB), and (c) investigate if type of mindfulness intervention received would moderate the relationship between pre- to post-treatment changes in mindfulness facets and post-treatment outcomes in PTSD and depression. Participants in the mindfulness groups experienced significant decreases in PTSD and depression symptom severity and increases in mindfulness, whereas the nonmindfulness groups did not. Among veterans who participated in a mindfulness group, change in the five facets of mindfulness accounted for 23 % of unique variance in the prediction of post-treatment depression scores. Simple slope analyses revealed that type of mindfulness intervention moderated the relationship among changes in facets of mindfulness and post-treatment depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7451147/

 

Improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Compassion Meditation

Improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Compassion Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“self-compassion provides a promising vision for trauma treatment . . . Self-compassion is strongly linked to emotional well-being, is an important mechanism of change in psychotherapy, and touches the core of trauma related symptomatology.” – Christopher Germer

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective. Increasing self-compassion is important for improvement in PTSD symptoms. Mindfulness has been shown to increase self-compassion. So, it makes sense to explore the relationships between mindfulness, self-compassion, and PTSD symptoms.

 

In today’s Research News article “Compassion Meditation for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a Nonrandomized Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223870/) Lang and colleagues recruited veterans who were diagnosed with PTSD. They were provided with 8-10 sessions of 1.5-2 hours of group Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) with daily meditation homework. CBCT was developed with a standardized manual and includes a set of meditation practices designed to increase attention to the present moment and compassion for self and others. The participants were measured before and after the training for PTSD symptoms, emotional experiences, social connectedness, and self-compassion including self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, self-judgment, isolation, and over-identification subscales. They were measured after the intervention for satisfaction with the intervention and semi-structured interviews about the understandability, applicability, and efficacy of the intervention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after treatment there was a large significant reduction in PTSD symptoms and depression. Surprisingly, there were no significant changes in positive and negative emotions or self-compassion. 61% of the veterans completed 6 or more sessions and they indicated overall satisfaction with the Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) intervention.

 

This was a pilot feasibility study without a control group. So, conclusions have to be reached cautiously. But the intent of the study was to establish feasibility and acceptability of the new intervention and was successful at that. It also provided preliminary evidence that the Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) intervention was safe and effective for veterans diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These results provide the empirical basis justifying a large randomized controlled trial in the future.

 

So, improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with compassion meditation.

 

“increases in self-compassion, notably self-kindness and mindfulness, were associated with decreases in PTSD symptoms.” – NICABM

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lang, A. J., Casmar, P., Hurst, S., Harrison, T., Golshan, S., Good, R., Essex, M., & Negi, L. (2020). Compassion Meditation for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a Nonrandomized Study. Mindfulness, 11(1), 63–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0866-z

 

Abstract

Compassion meditation (CM) is a contemplative practice that is intended to cultivate the ability to extend and sustain compassion toward self and others. Although research documents the benefits of CM in healthy populations, its use in the context of psychopathology is largely unexamined. The purpose of this study was to refine and initially evaluate a CM protocol, Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT®), for use with Veterans with PTSD. To this end, our research team developed and refined a manualized protocol, CBCT-Vet, over 4 sets of groups involving 36 Veterans. This protocol was delivered in 8–10 sessions, each lasting 90–120 min and led by a CBCT®-trained clinical psychologist. Quantitative and qualitative data were used to identify areas to be improved and to assess change that occurred during the treatment period. Based on pooled data from this series of groups, CM appears to be acceptable to Veterans with PTSD. Group participation was associated with reduced symptoms of PTSD (partial eta squared = .27) and depression (partial eta squared = .19), but causality should not be inferred given the nonrandomized design. No change was observed in additional outcomes, including positive emotion and social connectedness. The results of this open trial support additional exploration of CM as part of the recovery process for Veterans with PTSD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223870/

 

Improve Medically Unexplained Symptoms with Mindfulness

Improve Medically Unexplained Symptoms with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful people might have lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and better heart health. One study found that people who got a flu vaccine after 8 weeks of mindfulness training developed more antibodies against the flu than those who only got the vaccine. It may relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and cut down on migraines, too.” – WebMD

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

A number of patients come to see a physician with long-lasting subjective symptoms that do not have a clear medical explanation. Examples are fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome. It is important to establish if mindfulness may also be effective for these medically unexplained symptoms. The evidence has been accumulating. It is important, then, to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “What Works in Mindfulness Interventions for Medically Unexplained Symptoms? A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373253/) Billones and Saligan review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of patients with medically unexplained symptoms including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. They identified 24 controlled trials which included a total of 2126 participants who were primarily female (98%).

 

They report that the published studies found that in comparison to control conditions and baseline, mindfulness-based interventions produced significant reductions in symptom severity with moderate to large effect sizes. There were also significant improvements in pain, anxiety, and depression. The results suggest that mindfulness training is highly effective in reducing the symptoms of medically unexplained symptoms.

 

So, improve medically unexplained symptoms with mindfulness.

 

“it’s encouraging to know that something that can be taught and practiced can have an impact on our overall health—not just mental but also physical—more than 2,000 years after it was developed. That’s reason enough to give mindfulness meditation a try.” – Jill Suttie

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Billones, R., & Saligan, L. (2020). What Works in Mindfulness Interventions for Medically Unexplained Symptoms? A Systematic Review. Asian/Pacific Island Nursing Journal, 5(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.31372/20200501.1082

 

Abstract

Background/Purpose: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been used in medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). This systematic review describes the literature investigating the general effect of MBIs on MUS and identifies the effects of specific MBIs on specific MUS conditions. Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Guidelines (PRISMA) and the modified Oxford Quality Scoring System (Jadad score) were applied to the review, yielding an initial 1,556 articles. The search engines included PubMed, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, Scopus, EMBASE, and PsychINFO using the search terms: mindfulness, or mediations, or mindful or MBCT or MBSR and medically unexplained symptoms or MUS or Fibromyalgia or FMS. A total of 24 articles were included in the final systematic review. Results/Conclusions: MBIs showed large effects on: symptom severity (d  = 0.82), pain intensity (d  = 0.79), depression (d  = 0.62), and anxiety (d  = 0.67). A manualized MBI that applies the four fundamental elements present in all types of interventions were critical to efficacy. These elements were psycho-education sessions specific to better understand the medical symptoms, the practice of awareness, the nonjudgmental observance of the experience in the moment, and the compassion to ones’ self. The effectiveness of different mindfulness interventions necessitates giving attention to improve the gaps that were identified related to home-based practice monitoring, competency training of mindfulness teachers, and sound psychometric properties to measure the mindfulness practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373253/

 

Reduce Depression After Stillbirth with Yoga

Reduce Depression After Stillbirth with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Bereaved mothers with stillbirth (death at >20 weeks of gestation) have more than a 6-fold higher risk for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) compared to mothers after live birth. . . . Non-pharmacological approaches, such as yoga, may be an alternative option for bereaved women with stillbirth.” – Jennifer Huberty

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime with 7%-8% of the population developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback.

 

Having a stillbirth is a traumatic event for young women. It inevitably produces profound depression, grief, and symptoms of PTSD. Obviously, this is a troubling problem that needs to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat depression, grief and  PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective for depression, PTSD symptoms, and grief.  Yoga practice has also been found to reduce depression and PTSD symptoms. There is, however, no studies to date on the effectiveness of yoga practice to help alleviate the trauma produced by stillbirth.

 

In today’s Research News article “Online yoga to reduce post traumatic stress in women who have experienced stillbirth: a randomized control feasibility trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275350/) Huberty and colleagues recruited women who had experienced stillbirth within the last 2 years and randomly assigned them to receive 12 weeks of either low dose Hatha yoga (60 minutes per week), moderate dose Hatha yoga (150 minutes per week), or stretching and toning practice (60 minutes per week). All practice was led by online videos. They were measured before and after training and 8 weeks later for acceptability and demand for the program, PTSD symptoms, anxiety, depression, grief, self-compassion, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and sleep quality.

 

They found that PTSD symptoms decreased significantly over the measurement period with a 43% and 56% decrease for the low and moderate yoga groups and a 22% decrease for the stretching and toning group. But there were no significant differences between groups. On the other hand, in comparison to the stretching and toning group, both of the yoga groups had significant decreases in depression and grief. Unfortunately, the low dose yoga group only practiced on the average for 44 minutes per week and the high dose yoga only practiced for 77 minutes per week. This was well below the desired amount of practice.

 

The lack of a significant difference between the yoga and control groups was disappointing. Previous research has demonstrated that yoga practice reduces PTSD symptoms. It is possible that attempting to teach yoga remotely, online, to participants who are depressed simply may not be an effective way to encourage practice. Depressed patients lack motivation and it is possible that they need the encouragement of a group and an instructor to motivate their participation. Future research should employ traditional in person yoga classes for the treatment of women who had stillbirths.

 

Nevertheless, the yoga practice, even though it was below the dose desired, did significantly reduce depression. This corroborates previous findings that yoga practice is effective in treating a variety of forms of depression and suggests that it is also effective in treating depression emanating from stillbirth. Perhaps in person yoga classes may potentiate the effects on PTSD and other symptoms in women who had stillbirths.

 

So, reduce depression after stillbirth with yoga.

 

“a trauma-focused hatha yoga program may be a helpful adjunctive treatment for chronic PTSD.” – Sarah Krill Williston

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Huberty, J., Sullivan, M., Green, J., Kurka, J., Leiferman, J., Gold, K., & Cacciatore, J. (2020). Online yoga to reduce post traumatic stress in women who have experienced stillbirth: a randomized control feasibility trial. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 20(1), 173. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-020-02926-3

 

Abstract

Background

About 1 in every 150 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Consequences include symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Yoga has been used to treat PTSD in other populations and may improve health outcomes for stillbirth mothers. The purpose of this study was to determine: (a) feasibility of a 12-week home-based, online yoga intervention with varying doses; (b) acceptability of a “stretch and tone” control group; and (c) preliminary efficacy of the intervention on reducing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, perinatal grief, self-compassion, emotional regulation, mindfulness, sleep quality, and subjective health.

Methods

Participants (N = 90) were recruited nationally and randomized into one of three groups for yoga or exercise (low dose (LD), 60 min per week; moderate dose (MD), 150 min per week; and stretch-and-tone control group (STC)). Baseline and post-intervention surveys measured main outcomes (listed above). Frequency analyses were used to determine feasibility. Repeated measures ANCOVA were used to determine preliminary efficacy. Multiple regression analyses were used to determine a dose-response relationship between minutes of yoga and each outcome variable.

Results

Over half of participants completed the intervention (n = 48/90). Benchmarks (≥70% reported > 75% satisfaction) were met in each group for satisfaction and enjoyment. Participants meeting benchmarks (completing > 90% of prescribed minutes 9/12 weeks) for LD and MD groups were 44% (n = 8/18) and 6% (n = 1/16), respectively. LD and MD groups averaged 44.0 and 77.3 min per week of yoga, respectively. The MD group reported that 150 prescribed minutes per week of yoga was too much. There were significant decreases in PTSD and depression, and improvements in self-rated health at post-intervention for both intervention groups. There was a significant difference in depression scores (p = .036) and grief intensity (p = .009) between the MD and STC groups. PTSD showed non-significant decreases of 43% and 56% at post-intervention in LD and MD groups, respectively (22% decrease in control).

Conclusions

This was the first study to determine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an online yoga intervention for women after stillbirth. Future research warrants a randomized controlled trial.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275350/

 

Improve Mental Health with Yoga

Improve Mental Health with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. . . The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.” – Harvard Health

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotions and their regulation. Practitioners demonstrate more positive and less negative emotions and the ability to fully sense and experience emotions, while responding to them in appropriate and adaptive ways. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders.

 

Exercise has also been shown to improve mental health. Yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. It has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health, social, and spiritual well-being. There has accumulated a wealth of research studies of the effects of yoga practice on mental health. It makes sense to take a look at what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Applications of Yoga in Psychiatry: What We Know.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:), Nyer and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effectiveness of yoga practice and exercise for the treatment of psychological problems.

 

They report that the published research studies found that there was a powerful effect of yoga practice on depression, including major depressive disorders, even in patients who did not respond to antidepressant drugs. They also report that yoga practice is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

 

They report that the research postulates a number of potential mechanisms for yoga’s ability to improve depressive and anxiety disorders. These disorders are associated with an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system such that sympathetic activity, activation, predominates over parasympathetic activity, relaxation. Yoga practice has been shown to rebalance these systems, strengthening parasympathetic activity. Also, high levels of perceived stress have also been found to be associated with depressive and anxiety disorders and yoga practice has been shown to reduce perceived stress levels. In addition, depressive and anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive emotions and yoga practice has been found to improve the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. These are thought to be a potential explanations for yoga’s effectiveness.

 

So, improve mental health with yoga.

 

“In Sanskrit, yoga means to unite. As you grow in your ability to sense the relationship between your mind and body, you become more aware of dualities that exist in experience. The practice of yoga brings you to the awareness that there is a relationship between two ends of one phenomenon. You are body and mind.” – Deborah Khoshaba

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Nyer, M., Nauphal, M., Roberg, R., & Streeter, C. (2018). Applications of Yoga in Psychiatry: What We Know. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing), 16(1), 12–18. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.focus.20170055

 

Abstract

Yoga has been in use for thousands of years in the East as a healing modality. Western practitioners are now starting to recognize the potential of yoga-based treatments. The purpose of this article is to explore the evidence-base of yoga-based treatments for depression and anxiety with the purpose of furthering the integration of yoga into conventional Western mental health treatment plans.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6519580/

 

Indications That the Mental Health of Relatives of Long-Missing Persons Can be Improves with Mindfulness

Indications That the Mental Health of Relatives of Long-Missing Persons Can be Improves with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness for grief is not about whitewashing your pain, or “getting over” your loss. It is about learning how to stay present, cultivate compassion, and make wise choices that will help you cope with this new normal known as life after loss.” – Mindfulness and Grief Institute

 

Grief is a normal, albeit complex, process that follows a loss of a significant person or situation in one’s life. This can involve the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, termination of a relationship, relationship to a long-missing person, etc. Exactly what transpires depends upon the individual and the nature of the loss. It involves physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive processes. In about 15% of people grief can be overly intense or long and therapeutic intervention may become necessary.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found to help with coping with loss and its consequent grief.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy That is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. This would seem to be an ideal treatment protocol to treat the intense emotions that occur when a loved one goes missing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness for relatives of missing persons: a pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642737/), Lenferink and colleagues recruited “adults who experienced the disappearance of a spouse, family member, or friend more than 3 months.” They were randomly assigned to a wait-list or to receive 8 weekly sessions of an adapted form of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before and after training for grief, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depressive symptoms, mindfulness, and presumed causes for disappearance.

 

This was a small pilot trial and as such there were insufficient participants to assess statistical reliability of the results. But the study proved that employing Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for people with long-missing relatives was feasible and acceptable. They found that on average following MBCT there were increases in mindfulness and decreases in grief, PTSD symptoms, and depressive symptoms.

 

These findings are encouraging although far from definitive. They demonstrate that providing Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) treatment for relatives of missing persons is possible and appears to help relieve the suffering of these relatives. This suggests that a larger randomized controlled clinical trial should be attempted. These relatives of missing persons are suffering from grief, depression, and PTSD symptoms and MBCT may help ease this suffering.

 

So, there are indications that the mental health of relatives of long-missing persons can be improves with mindfulness.

 

The pure practice of mindfulness is to bring your attention to exactly what is — whether that is pain or bliss, peace or torment — each moment, as it arises. At its core, mindfulness does not try to talk you out of anything, nor does it judge what you feel. It’s not a prescription for happiness. Mindfulness is meant to help you acknowledge the truth of the moment you’re in, even, or especially, when that moment hurts.” – Megan Devine

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lenferink, L., de Keijser, J., Wessel, I., & Boelen, P. A. (2019). Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness for relatives of missing persons: a pilot study. Pilot and feasibility studies, 5, 93. doi:10.1186/s40814-019-0472-z

 

Abstract

Objectives

Relatives of long-term missing persons need to deal with uncertainties related to the disappearance. These uncertainties may give rise to ruminative thinking about the causes and consequences of the loss. Focusing on tolerating uncertainties in treatment of relatives of missing persons might foster recovery. Adding mindfulness to cognitive behavioural therapy might serve this aim. The feasibility and potential effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy with mindfulness were evaluated in a pilot study. We aimed to detect changes in symptom levels and mindfulness from pre-treatment to 1 week, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks post-treatment.

Method

Dutch adults who experienced the disappearance of a significant other more than 3 months earlier and scored above clinical thresholds for psychological distress were eligible to participate. Participants were recruited from January 2015 to July 2016. Participants in the immediate treatment group started treatment after 1 week after randomization, whereas waiting list controls started the treatment after 12 weeks of waiting. Data from self-report measures as well as clinical diagnostic interviews (tapping persistent complex bereavement disorder, major depressive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder) were gathered among 17 relatives of missing persons with elevated symptom levels.

Results

The response rate (31.7%) was low, and dropout rate (47.1%) high. Cognitive behavioural therapy with mindfulness coincided with changes in psychopathology levels (Hedges’ g 0.35–1.09) and mindfulness (Hedges’ g − 0.10–0.41). Participants completing the treatment were satisfied with treatment quality and reported high treatment compliance.

Conclusions

Because of the limited research about effective treatments for relatives of missing persons and promising results of small and/or uncontrolled trials examining the effect of mindfulness-based treatment to target grief-related complaints, it seems valuable to continue investigating the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy with mindfulness on reducing post-loss psychopathology in future research. However, in order to increase the feasibility of future trials among relatives of missing persons, we recommend collaborating internationally and/or extending duration of recruitment phase, to maximize the sample size.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642737/

 

Improve Psychopathology with Meditation

Improve Psychopathology with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The research is strong for mindfulness’ positive impact in certain areas of mental health, including stress reduction, emotion and attention regulation, reduced rumination, for reducing mild to moderate depression and anxiety, and preventing depressive relapse.” – Kelle Walsh

 

There are vast numbers of people who suffer with mental illnesses; psychopathology. In the United states it has been estimated that in any given year 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness. Many are treated with drugs. But drug treatment can produce unwanted side effects, don’t work for many patients, and often can lose effectiveness over time. Mindfulness practices provide a safe alternative treatment. They have been found to be helpful with coping with these illnesses and in many cases reducing the symptoms of the diseases. Hence, it appears that mindfulness practices are safe and effective treatments for a variety of psychiatric conditions including anxietydepressionpsychosesaddictions, etc.. Since there has accumulated a large amount of research, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been discovered.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Meditation and Psychopathology.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6597263/), Wielgosz and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies investigating the efficacy of mindfulness meditation practices for the treatment of a variety of psychopathologies.

 

They report that mindfulness meditation produces significant improvements in depression and in anxiety disorders in comparison to inactive and active control conditions. Efficacy is equivalent to that of other evidence-based treatments. The research suggests that meditation reduces depression by decreasing rumination and anxiety by reducing repetitive negative thinking. Hence, meditation training is an excellent safe and effective treatment for these prevalent mental illnesses.

 

They also report that mindfulness meditation produces significant improvements in chronic pain intensity and unpleasantness in comparison to inactive but not active control conditions. Efficacy is equivalent to that of other evidence-based treatments. This is true for chronic low back pain fibromyalgia, migraine, and chronic pelvic pain. Meditation also appears to improve the quality of life of chronic pain patients. The research suggests that meditation reduces chronic pain by decreasing negative emotional reactivity. Such reactivity appears to intensify pain and meditation reduces this reactivity and thereby reduces pain.

 

They report that mindfulness meditation produces significant improvements in substance abuse disorders in comparison to inactive and active control conditions and even in comparison to other evidence-based treatments. It appears to reduce substance use frequency, use-related problems, and craving. This is important as addictions are very difficult to treat and frequently relapse.

 

There is evidence that mindfulness meditation is effective in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) both in children and adults and also post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But there are currently no comparisons to the effects of other active or evidence-based treatments. It will be important to have randomized controlled trials with active controls to better assess the efficacy of meditation for the treatment of ADHD and PTSD.

 

There is emerging evidence that mindfulness meditation may be effective for eating disorders, and major mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depression, and psychosis. But there is a need for more, better controlled research.

 

Hence, this comprehensive review suggests that mindfulness meditation is a useful treatment for a variety of types of psychopathology. It is amazing that such a simple practice as meditation can have such wide-ranging benefits for such diverse mental illnesses. Meditation appears to act indirectly by strengthening cognitive, emotional, and stress related process that in turn have beneficial effects on the psychopathologies. Hence, it is clear that mindfulness meditation is a safe and effective treatment for psychopathologies that can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

 

So, improve psychopathology with meditation.

 

“When they’re depressed, people are locked in the past. They’re ruminating about something that happened that they can’t let go of. When they’re anxious, they’re ruminating about the future — it’s that anticipation of what they can’t control. In contrast, when we are mindful, we are focused on the here and now. Mindfulness trains individuals to turn their attention to what is happening in the present moment.” – Carolyn Gregoire

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wielgosz, J., Goldberg, S. B., Kral, T., Dunne, J. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2019). Mindfulness Meditation and Psychopathology. Annual review of clinical psychology, 15, 285–316. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-021815-093423

 

Abstract

Mindfulness meditation is increasingly incorporated into mental health interventions, and theoretical concepts associated with it have influenced basic research on psychopathology. Here, we review the current understanding of mindfulness meditation through the lens of clinical neuroscience, outlining the core capacities targeted by mindfulness meditation and mapping them onto cognitive and affective constructs of the Research Domain Criteria matrix proposed by the National Institute of Mental Health. We review efficacious applications of mindfulness meditation to specific domains of psychopathology including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and substance abuse, as well as emerging efforts related to attention disorders, traumatic stress, dysregulated eating, and serious mental illness. Priorities for future research include pinpointing mechanisms, refining methodology, and improving implementation. Mindfulness meditation is a promising basis for interventions, with particular potential relevance to psychiatric comorbidity. The successes and challenges of mindfulness meditation research are instructive for broader interactions between contemplative traditions and clinical psychological science.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6597263/

Lower PTSD Symptoms and Risk of Suicide in Firefighters are Associated with Mindfulness

Lower PTSD Symptoms and Risk of Suicide in Firefighters are Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I’m convinced [mindfulness] could be a powerful antidote to what I see happening to my peers, both as retirees and active personnel. We have high rates of suicide and PTSD. It can lead you to some pretty dark places.” – Gary Gonzalez

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime with 7%-8% of the population developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

First responders such as firefighters and police experience traumatic events as part of their jobs and many develop symptoms of PTSD. This is responsible for the fact that wore firefighters and police officers die by suicide than all line-of-duty deaths combined. 103 firefighters and 140 police officers died by suicide in 2017, compared to 93 firefighter and 129 officer line-of-duty deaths. Obviously, this is a troubling problem that needs to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective.  Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to has been shown to reduce suicidality and to reduce the impact of trauma on the individual.

 

In today’s Research News article “Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and mindfulness facets in relation to suicide risk among firefighters.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434694/), Stanley and colleagues examine the relationship of mindfulness to PTSD symptoms and suicide risk in firefighters. They recruited firefighters (94% male) and had them complete an online survey measuring mindfulness, lifetime exposure to trauma, PTSD symptoms, and suicide risk severity.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of PTSD symptoms and suicide risk. They also found that the higher the levels of PTSD symptoms the higher the levels of suicide risk. A moderation analysis indicated that the effect of PTSD symptoms on suicide risk severity was lowered by mindfulness, particularly the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and non-judging of inner experience.

 

It should be noted that these findings are correlations and thus there cannot be definitive conclusions about causation. Nevertheless, the results suggest that mindfulness is associated with lower Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and lower risk of suicide among firefighters. In addition, being able to act with awareness and to experience feelings without judgement may be particularly strongly associated with a lower association between the symptoms of PTSD and the risk of suicide. These results suggest that a randomized clinical trial of the ability of mindfulness training to lower PTSD symptoms and suicide risk is warranted.

 

First responders have a tough job. They are not only exposed to immediate risks to their safety but also long-term risks associated with the trauma experienced in the course of their jobs. Mindfulness may be very helpful for firefighters. It may have the ability to help them withstand the long-term consequences of the trauma they experience. Perhaps mindfulness may make a tough, but important, job less costly for the firefighters mental health.

 

“Firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than to die on the job. We heavily invest in protective equipment to keep them physically safe – special masks, boots, jackets, pants. So why don’t we spend any money to protect their minds?” – Rich Landward

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Stanley, I. H., Boffa, J. W., Tran, J. K., Schmidt, N. B., Joiner, T. E., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2019). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and mindfulness facets in relation to suicide risk among firefighters. Journal of clinical psychology, 75(4), 696–709. doi:10.1002/jclp.22748

 

Abstract

Objective:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with increased suicide risk among firefighters. Few studies have examined modifiable factors, such as mindfulness facets, that might attenuate this association. This study examined the interactive effects of PTSD symptoms and mindfulness facets in relation to suicide risk among firefighters.

Method:

Overall, 831 career firefighters were assessed for PTSD symptoms, mindfulness facets, and suicide risk via the PTSD Checklist for DSM‐5, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire—Revised, respectively.

Results:

Greater PTSD symptoms were associated with more severe suicide risk; however, higher levels of two specific mindfulness facets, acting with awareness and nonjudging of inner experience, attenuated this association. By contrast, higher levels of the observing facet of mindfulness potentiated the association between PTSD symptoms and suicide risk.

Conclusions:

Suicide prevention initiatives among firefighters, particularly those experiencing trauma‐related sequelae, might benefit from the inclusion of mindfulness‐based practices alongside frontline empirically‐supported approaches.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434694/

 

Students and Military who are High in All Facets of Mindfulness Have Better Psychological Health

Students and Military who are High in All Facets of Mindfulness Have Better Psychological Health

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The research is strong for mindfulness’ positive impact in certain areas of mental health, including stress reduction, emotion and attention regulation, reduced rumination, for reducing mild to moderate depression and anxiety, and preventing depressive relapse.“ – Kelle Walsh

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, mindfulness training has been called the third wave of therapies.

 

One of the premiere measurement tools for mindfulness is the Five Factors of Mindfulness Questionnaire. It measures overall mindfulness and also five facets; observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judgement, and non-reactivity. People differ and an individual can be high or low on any of these facets and any combination of facets. It is not known what pattern of mindfulness facets are most predictive of good mental health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and Psychological Health Outcomes: A Latent Profile Analysis among Military Personnel and College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5800780/ ), Bravo and colleagues recruited active and retired military personnel and college students. They were measured online for mindfulness, depression, anxiety, rumination, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse symptoms.

 

They found that overall, the greater the levels of mindfulness, the better the mental health of the participants including lower depression, anxiety, rumination, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse symptoms. The military personnel were higher on all measures except rumination than the college students.

 

For the college students latent profile analysis revealed 4 mindfulness profiles ““high mindfulness” group (i.e., moderately high on all facets of mindfulness), a “low mindfulness” group (i.e., relatively low-to-average on all facets of mindfulness), a “judgmentally observing” group (i.e., high on observing facet, low on non-judging of inner experience and acting with awareness) and a “non-judgmentally aware” group (i.e., low on observing, high on non-judging of inner experience and acting with awareness).” For the military personnel latent profile analysis revealed 3 mindfulness profiles “high mindfulness” group (i.e., moderately high on all facets of mindfulness), a “low mindfulness/ judgmentally observing” group (i.e., relatively low-to-average on describing, and non-reacting facets of mindfulness and  high on observing facet, low on non-judging of inner experience and acting with awareness) and a “non-judgmentally aware” group (i.e., low on observing, high on non-judging of inner experience and acting with awareness).

 

For both the military personnel and the students, the participants with the “high mindfulness” profile had significantly better mental health than those with the other profiles including lower depression, anxiety, rumination, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse symptoms. It is important to note that the results were similar in very different participant populations, suggesting that the results are generalizable.

 

The results further suggest that with mindfulness there are very different types of people, expressing mindfulness in different ways and this makes a difference in the relationship of mindfulness to mental health. The results suggest that overall being mindful is associated with good mental health. They further suggest that being generally high on all facets of mindfulness is an even better predictor of good mental health. It may make sense in future research to pay more attention to these different mindfulness profile groups in investigating mindfulness relationships with mental and physical well-being.

 

It is clear that mindfulness is associated with better mental health.

 

“We’ve seen this in the clinical domain for many years. People, in concert with their physicians… actually going off their medications for pain, for anxiety, for depression, as they begin to learn the self-regulatory elements of mindfulness. They discover that the things that used to be symptomatically problematic for them are no longer arising at the same level.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Bravo, A. J., Pearson, M. R., & Kelley, M. L. (2017). Mindfulness and Psychological Health Outcomes: A Latent Profile Analysis among Military Personnel and College Students. Mindfulness, 9(1), 258-270.

 

Abstract

Previous research on trait mindfulness facets using person-centered analyses (e.g., latent profile analysis [LPA]) has identified four distinct mindfulness profiles among college students: a high mindfulness group (high on all facets of the Five-Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire [FFMQ]), a judgmentally observing group (highest on observing, but low on non-judging of inner experience and acting with awareness), a non-judgmentally aware group (high on non-judging of inner experience and acting with awareness, but very low on observing), and a low mindfulness group (low on all facets of the FFMQ). In the present study, we used LPA to identify distinct mindfulness profiles in a community based sample of U.S. military personnel (majority veterans; n = 407) and non-military college students (n = 310) and compare these profiles on symptoms of psychological health outcomes (e.g., suicidality, PTSD, anxiety, rumination) and percentage of participants exceeding clinically significant cut-offs for depressive symptoms, substance use, and alcohol use. In the subsample of college students, we replicated previous research and found four distinct mindfulness profiles; however, in the military subsample we found three distinct mindfulness profiles (a combined low mindfulness/judgmentally observing class). In both subsamples, we found that the most adaptive profile was the “high mindfulness” profile (i.e., demonstrated the lowest scores on all psychological symptoms and the lowest probability of exceeding clinical cut-offs). Based on these findings, we purport that the comprehensive examination of an individual’s mindfulness profile could help clinicians tailor interventions/treatments that capitalize on individual’s specific strengths and work to address their specific deficits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5800780/

 

Improve PTSD Symptoms Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse with Mindfulness

Improve PTSD Symptoms Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

DBT-PTSD significantly reduced the women’s PTSD symptoms, including depression and anxiety. In addition, the women’s PTSD symptoms were still improving six weeks after they completed the treatment, suggesting that they may have learned skills during the study that helped them continue to recover from PTSD after the treatment ended.” – Matthew Tull

 

Childhood sexual abuse is a horrific crime. The trauma created in the victim changes them forever. It changes the trusting innocence of childhood to a confused, guilt ridden, frightening, and traumatized existence. It not only produces short-term trauma which includes both psychological and physical injury, it has long-term consequences. It damages the victim’s self-esteem and creates difficulties entering into intimate relationship in adulthood. It can create post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) complete with painful flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Victims often experience depression and sometimes become suicidal. It is a heinous crime that haunts the victims for the rest of their lives.

 

Unfortunately, childhood sexual abuse is shockingly common. It is estimated that 20% of girls and 10% of boys have experienced childhood sexual abuse and half of these were forcefully assaulted. Children between the ages of 7 and 13 are the most vulnerable but abuse is also prevalent in adolescence with 16% of children between 14 to 17 having been sexually victimized. Compounding the problem disclosure of sexual abuse is often delayed; children often avoid telling because they are either afraid of a negative reaction from their parents or of being harmed by the abuser. As such, they often delay disclosure until adulthood. This makes it unlikely that they’ll seek help and instead suffer in silence.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in treating victims of trauma and PTSD.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) focuses on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. So, it would make sense to explore the effectiveness of DBT for the treatment of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dialectical behaviour therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse: a pilot study in an outpatient treatment setting.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774406/ ), Steil and colleagues recruited adult healthy women who had experienced childhood sexual abuse and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They treated them with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in a group for 90 minutes, once a week for 24 weeks. They were measured before and after treatment and 6 weeks later for frequency and intensity of PTSD symptoms, personality disorders, borderline symptoms, depression, and dissociative symptoms.

 

They found that the average duration of the PTSD symptoms prior to treatment was 14.5 years. 81% of the patients completed treatment. Following treatment, the women had significant reductions in PTSD symptoms including fewer intrusions, less avoidances, and hyperarousal episodes with large effect sizes. Treatment also produced large significant reductions in borderline symptoms, depression, and dissociative symptoms. These effects were still present and significant at the 6-week follow-up measurement.

 

The results suggest that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a safe, lasting, and effective treatment for PTSD symptoms resulting from childhood sexual abuse. But this was a pilot study without a control group. It relied upon before and after treatment comparisons. As such, there are many potential confounding factors. But the results are so positive and beneficial that a large randomized controlled clinical trial is warranted.

 

So, improve PTSD symptoms related to childhood sexual abuse with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective stress reduction practices in general, but there may be other ways it works for people with PTSD as well. Recent research suggests that mindfulness may help to mitigate the relationship between maladaptive thinking and posttraumatic distress.” – Matthew Tull

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Regina Steil, Clara Dittmann, Meike Müller-Engelmann, Anne Dyer, Anne-Marie Maasch, Kathlen Priebe. Dialectical behaviour therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse: a pilot study in an outpatient treatment setting. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2018; 9(1): 1423832. Published online 2018 Jan 19. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2018.1423832

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Dialectical behaviour therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (DBT-PTSD), which is tailored to treat adults with PTSD and co-occurring emotion regulation difficulties, has already demonstrated its efficacy, acceptance and safety in an inpatient treatment setting. It combines elements of DBT with trauma-focused cognitive behavioural interventions.

Objective: To investigate the feasibility, acceptance and safety of DBT-PTSD in an outpatient treatment setting by therapists who were novice to the treatment, we treated 21 female patients suffering from PTSD following childhood sexual abuse (CSA) plus difficulties in emotion regulation in an uncontrolled clinical trial.

Method: The Clinician Administered PTSD Symptom Scale (CAPS), the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), the Borderline Section of the International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE) and the Borderline Symptom List (BSL-23) were used as primary outcomes. For secondary outcomes, depression and dissociation were assessed. Assessments were administered at pretreatment, post-treatment and six-week follow-up.

Results: Improvement was significant for PTSD as well as for borderline personality symptomatology, with large pretreatment to follow-up effect sizes for completers based on the CAPS (Cohens d = 1.30), DTS (d = 1.50), IPDE (d = 1.60) and BSL-23 (d = 1.20).

Conclusion: The outcome suggests that outpatient DBT-PTSD can safely be used to reduce PTSD symptoms and comorbid psychopathology in adults who have experienced CSA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774406/