Transcendental Meditation Reduces Need for Anxiety Meds in Active Duty Military

We’ve got an epidemic of prescription drug use among our military – a mess we helped to create through overprescribing downrange – and now we need to find ways to reduce drug dependency and find healthy, non-narcotic alternatives.  That’s why this TM study is so important.

Researchers from Georgia Regents University and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, GA, investigated whether the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) increased psychological well being and decreased the need for anxiety and posttraumatic stress medication.  

The sample included 74 military service members with documented PTSD or anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (ADNOS), 37 of whom practiced TM and 37 who did not.

After one month, 83.7% of the TM group stabilized, decreased, or ceased medications and 10.8% increased medication dosage. On the other hand, of the controls who did not practice TM, 59.4% showed stabilizations, decreases, or cessations; and 40.5% increased medications (p < 0.03).

A similar pattern was observed after 2 months (p < 0.27), 3 months (p < 0.002), and 6 months (p < 0.34).

Notably, there was a 20.5% difference between groups in severity of psychological symptoms after six months - that is, the control group experienced a sizeable increase in symptom severity as compared with the group practicing TM.

These findings provide insight into the benefits of TM as a viable treatment modality in military treatment facilities for reducing PTSD and ADNOS psychological symptoms and associated medication use.

Citation: Barnes VA1, Monto A2, Williams JJ3, Rigg JL3. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Psychotropic Medication Use Among Active Duty Military Service Members With Anxiety and PTSD. Military Medicine. 2016 Jan;181 (1): pp 56-63. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00333.

Quick note: If you liked this post, you might enjoy getting our weekly e-news with other articles just like it. If so, sign up here!