Examining the Utility of Mindfulness-based Treatments for PTSD

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after exposure to a traumatic event, such as witnessing death, serious injury or violence. It causes intrusive symptoms that interfere with daily function and quality of life.

Common treatments for PTSD, including Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), have proven effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD. But a substantial number of patients do not fully recover following PE and CPT interventions.

Recent emerging studies indicate that mindfulness-based treatments may prove promising as complementary or alternative approaches to further assist people suffering from PTSD.

PhD Student, Jenna Boyd, in collaboration with HRI scientists Dr. Ruth Lanius and Dr. Margaret McKinnon (Boyd, Lanius, McKinnon, 2017) reviewed treatment literature and neurological evidence regarding mindfulness-based interventions for PTSD. The paper investigates the theoretical basis for the utility of mindfulness-based approaches in the treatment of PTSD, explores the overlap between neurobiological models of PTSD and the neurobiology of mindfulness, and discusses limitations and future directions for the potential efficacy of these approaches in treating PTSD.

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