Regular engagement in a certain type of meditation can help active duty military personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by reducing or even eliminating their need for medication, as well as gain better control of their symptoms.
Researchers led by John L. Rigg, MD, a psychiatrist at the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Gordon, Ga., examined 74 active-duty service members with either PTSD or an anxiety disorder. Half of the subjects practiced transcendental therapy in addition to other therapy while the other half did not.
Transcendental meditation “takes users from a level of active thinking to a state of inner quietness that reduces levels of stress hormones and activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which drives the so-called fight-or-flight response by increasing heart rate and blood pressure,” according to a news release on the study, which was published in the journal Military Medicine.
In the meditation group after one month, 83.7% of the meditators had stabilized, reduced or stopped their use of psychotropic drugs to treat their conditions while 10.9 percent had increased their medication dosage. On the other hand, in the non-meditation group, 59.4% had stabilized, reduced or stopped taking psychotropic drugs while 40.5% were taking additional meds.
Rigg JL, et al. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Psychotropic Medication Use Among Active Duty Military Service Members With Anxiety and PTSD. Mil Med. 2016; 181(1):56-63.