Meditation can be as effective in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as therapies that are already in use today, according to a study carried out among former US soldiers published in the Lancet Psychiatry scientific journal.
The ESPT can be given after experiencing a traumatic experience associated, for example, with death, violence or sexual assault.
It is characterized above all by recurring memories, a nightmare, attempts to avoid everything that remembers an event, states of irritability and depression.
It occurs mainly among victims of assassinations and soldiers (it is estimated that 14% of US Army soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from ESPT).
Current therapies include exposure therapy. It involves gradual exposure of the patient to situations, places, images, sensations, noise, smells … related to the traumatic event, so that their bodies "get used to" do not react so intensely, gradually reducing stress
But this technique is painful for ESPT victims and 30 to 45% of patients abandon treatment.
Researchers from three American universities tested meditation in a study of 203 affected ex-soldiers.
The army, women and men, were divided into three groups: one practiced meditation, the other – therapy by exposition, and the third – the ESPT theoretical course.
Sixty percent of former soldiers who practiced 20 minutes of daily meditation noted a significant improvement in symptoms and in this group more people came to the end of the study than among people undergoing exposure therapy.
Meditation consists in concentrating the spirit on something specific, such as breathing or an object, to achieve focus on the present moment, which is called the state of full consciousness. In this way, you can move away from painful thoughts or feelings.