Mindfulness meditation for posttraumatic stress disorder

April 1, 2014
Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

A chapter from the Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness

Wahbeh, H. (2014). Mindfulness Meditation for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness (eds A. Ie, C.T. Ngnoumen and E.J. Langer).


People with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience a constellation of often debilitating symptoms in three categories: hyper arousal, reexperiencing, and avoidance. While prolonged exposure and cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmaceuticals may offer some relief for some people, additional treatments are needed. Evidence for the use of clinical mindfulness interventions has grown in the last decade for many health conditions such as PTSD. The overlapping PTSD pathophysiology and mechanisms of action of mindfulness meditation support its use for treatment. Although still preliminary, the evidence for using mindfulness meditation is positive and growing. Special considerations must be used in implementing mindfulness interventions to account for sensitive issues in people with PTSD. Future research to inform clinical practice will include larger randomized controlled trials that incorporate state-of-the-art adherence and ecological momentary assessment measures to evaluate real-time practice and symptoms in the participant’s natural setting. They will also include varied delivery options in addition to the standard group formats.

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