A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental #Meditation as Treatment for #Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans

Preliminary studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation (TM) for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present study extended previous research with a pilot trial of TM as a treatment for PTSD via a single‐blinded, randomized controlled design. veterans with PTSD (N = 40) were assigned to a TM intervention or treatment‐as‐usual (TAU) control group. Participants in the TM group engaged in 16 sessions over 12 weeks, primarily in a 60‐min group format.

Change in PTSD symptoms, measured via the Clinician‐Administered PTSD Scale for DSM‐5 (CAPS‐5) was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included self‐reported PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, anger, and quality of life (QoL). Assessments were conducted at baseline and 3‐month follow‐up. Mean CAPS‐5 score decreases were significantly larger for participants in the TM group (M = ‐11.28, 95% CI [‐17.35, ‐5.20]), compared to the TAU group (M = −1.62, 95% CI [‐6.77, 3.52]), p = .012, d = ‐0.84. At posttest, 50.0% of veterans in the TM group no longer met PTSD diagnostic criteria as compared to 10.0% in the TAU group, p = .007.

Adjusted mean changes on self‐report measures of PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties indicated significant reductions in the TM group compared to TAU, ds = .80–1.16. There were no significant group differences regarding anger or QoL.

These findings demonstrate the efficacy of TM as a treatment for veterans with PTSD and for comorbid symptoms. Combined with other research, they suggest that TM may be a tolerable, non–trauma‐focused PTSD treatment.