Effectiveness of ‘mantram’ repetitions in military-related PTSD

Bormann, J.E., et al. (2018). Individual Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Using Mantram Repetition: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Online 20 Jun 2018, https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17060611. From the Abstract.

Objective: Previous studies suggest that group “mantram” (sacred word) repetition therapy, a non-trauma-focused complementary therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may be an effective treatment for veterans.

Design: The study was a two-site, open-allocation, blinded-assessment randomized trial involving 173 veterans diagnosed with military-related PTSD from two Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics.

Results: Individually delivered mantram repetition therapy was generally more effective than present-centered therapy for reducing PTSD symptom severity and insomnia.

A mindful approach to diabetes self-management

DiNardo, Monica, et al. “A Mindful Approach to Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support for Veterans.” The Diabetes Educator, vol. 43, no. 6, pp. 608-20. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721717738019

From the Abstract. The study used a single-group pretest-posttest repeated-measures design. The 90-minute Mind-STRIDE training, adapted from Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), was provided as the final component of a half-day diabetes self-management education class at a Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient diabetes clinic.

Following initial training, participants were asked to practice mindfulness at home for 10 minutes each day during the 3-month study. Study recruitment and retention were calculated as rates. Veteran and diabetes educator satisfaction were assessed by rating scales and open-ended comments. Psychosocial-behavioral and metabolic outcomes were assessed at baseline and 3 months after initial training.

Overall, participants and diabetes educators were highly satisfied with the Mind-STRIDE intervention. Significant improvements were found in diabetes distress, diabetes self-efficacy, [and] diabetes self-management behaviors.

Results suggest feasibility, satisfaction, and positive preliminary effects. Efficacy testing by randomized controlled trial with analysis of covariance structures is warranted.

Brief mindfulness program for veterans with PTSD

Bergen-Cico, D., Possemato, K., & Pigeon, W. (2014). Reductions in Cortisol Associated With Primary Care Brief Mindfulness Program for Veterans With PTSD. Medical care, 52, S25-S31. For the full text, go to Abstract and click on “View as pdf.” 

From the Abstract. Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have significant medical morbidity, which may be mediated by hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA) dysfunction and reflected in cortisol output. Many veterans with PTSD are hesitant to engage in trauma-focused exposure treatments; therefore briefer, non–exposure-based treatments are needed; one such promising approach is an abbreviated Primary Care brief Mindfulness Program (PCbMP).

Objective: This study investigated the relationship between dose-response to participation in a veterans PCbMP program and diurnal cortisol. Cortisol reflects HPA function and PTSD is associated with HPA dysregulation.

Design: Forty veterans (90% men) with PTSD were identified in primary care and randomly assigned to treatment as usual, or participation in brief 4-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.

Results: Analyses revealed that significant changes in cortisol were associated with PCbMP treatment engagement and dosing (number of mindfulness program sessions completed). Veterans completing 4 mindfulness-based meditation sessions significantly reduced their cortisol awakening response; and had significant changes in cortisol area under the curve increase compared with TAU participants.

Loving-kindness meditation for veterans with PTSD

Kearney, D. J., McManus, C., Malte, C. A., Martinez, M. E., Felleman, B., & Simpson, T. L. (2014). Loving-Kindness Meditation and the Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions Among Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Medical care, 52, S32-S38.

From the Abstract. Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is a practice intended to enhance feelings of kindness and compassion for self and others.

Objectives: To assess whether participation in a 12-week course of LKM for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with improved positive emotions, decentering, and personal resources.

Design: In an open-pilot trial, 42 veterans with active PTSD (40% female ) were assessed at baseline, after the course, and 3 months later. Emotions, decentering, psychological wellbeing including autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and sense of social support were measured at each time point.

Conclusions: Overall, positive emotions increased, and enhancement of personal resources occurred over time. Further investigation of LKM for PTSD is warranted.