Breaking down the silos of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder: integrating mind and body
Scalable interventions for PTSD that target mental health and comorbid cardiometabolic health are urgently required
There is increasing awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the general community, particularly in relation to the high incidence of the condition and its impact on high-risk populations, such as defence force veterans and emergency service first-responders. PTSD is a highly prevalent and costly condition associated with high rates of comorbid mental disorders, including anxiety and depression, and substance use.
There is growing interest in second-line or adjunctive treatments for PTSD. For example, a recently published randomised controlled trial established the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction (an intervention that teaches individuals to attend to the present moment in a non-judgemental, accepting way) for treating PTSD among veterans.1 Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 8 weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy, delivered during weekly 2.5 hour group sessions, or an active control condition consisting of group sessions focusing on life problems. The majority of patients were also receiving pharmacotherapy (51/58 in the mindfulness group and 49/58 in the control group). Participants in the adjunctive mindfulness group were significantly more likely to experience clinically meaningful improvements in PTSD symptoms at…