Transcendental Meditation Reduces Soldiers’ PTSD and Need For Meds

Here’s another study that shows how our military and veterans programs are increasingly reaching out to test mind-body tools, establish efficacy and offer real help – user-friendly, self-administered, empowering and inexpensive interventions for our service personnel. 

Researchers from Georgia Regents University and the TBI Clinic at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, GA investigated whether the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) increased well-being and decreased the need for psychotropic drugs needed for managing anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).   

The sample for this pilot included 74 military Service Members with documented PTSD or anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (ADNOS).

Of this group, 37 practiced TM and 37 did not.

After 1 month, 83.7% of the TM group stabilized, decreased, or ceased medications, while 10.8% increased medication dosage.  This compared with 59.4% of controls that showed stabilizations, decreases, or cessations; and 40.5% that increased medications (p < 0.03).

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

Notably, there was a 20.5% difference between groups in severity of psychological symptoms after 6 months, which is to say that the control group experienced an increase in symptom severity compared with the group practicing TM.

These findings show the promising benefits of TM as a viable treatment modality in military treatment facilities for reducing the symptoms of PTSD and ADNOS 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):56-63. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00333.

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