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Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Improves PTSD

Results based on an eight-week pilot program involving veterans seeking outpatient treatment

FRIDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can provide significant and clinically meaningful improvement in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to a pilot study published online April 17 in Depression and Anxiety.

Anthony P. King, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues enrolled consecutive patients seeking treatment for chronic PTSD at a VA outpatient clinic in either eight-week MBCT groups, modified for PTSD (four groups; 20 participants), or brief treatment-as-usual (TAU) comparison group interventions (three groups; 17 participants). Clinician administered PTSD scales (CAPS) were performed on all patients as pre- and post-therapy psychological assessments. Self-report measures (PTSD diagnostic scale [PDS] and posttraumatic cognitions inventory [PTCI]) were administered in the MBCT group.

The researchers observed significant improvement in PTSD in the MBCT group but not the TAU group. There was a significant Condition × Time interaction. The 15 participants who completed MBCT showed good compliance with assigned homework exercises as well as significant and clinically meaningful improvement in PTSD symptom severity in CAPS and PDS (particularly in avoidance/numbing symptoms) and reduced PTSD-relevant cognitions in PTCI (self-blame).

"These data suggest group MBCT as an acceptable brief intervention/adjunctive therapy for combat PTSD, with potential for reducing avoidance symptom cluster and PTSD cognitions," the authors write.

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